Fareway Welcomes Deputy Director | Local News

CLINTON — Matt Langel, who took on the role of assistant manager at Fareway in January, brought with him not only nearly a decade of experience, but also two best bagger championship titles to fulfill a lifelong dream. at Clinton.

As a little boy, Langel accompanied his mother to the grocery store, and as soon as he was old enough to do so, he wanted to pack groceries for her to buy. Ever since, Langel wanted to work at the grocery store.

He first got the chance to do it in his early high school years in 2001 when he was just 13 years old. He then moved to Dubuque, where he went to college to earn a degree in biology with the intention of entering the field of chiropractic medicine. At the same time, he worked at Fareway there and was promoted to a full-time management position. Langel eventually decided he wanted to continue down this path instead of becoming a chiropractor.

At Decorah, which now dominates the pay lane belt, Langel entered the Iowa Best Bagger contest held at the Iowa State Fair in 2018. This was a contest held for the first time in 1987 and designed to demonstrate the important customer service skill of bagging. Competitors were judged on their speed, use of proper bag construction technique, weight distribution of items in a bag, and style, attitude and appearance of the contestant. bagger.

They have 53 seconds in which 40 different items, including those that are cold or brittle, must be packed into three different grocery bags. Each of the three bags must be the same weight or the competitor will be moored to points.

Langel refers to it as an art form.

“There is a technique to this,” he says. “Basically, if you cut the bag, everything should stay as it is.”

Langel placed third out of 15 competitors, winning $150. Des Moines Hy-Vee employee Dwayne Campbell won the contest and received $500 plus a trip to San Diego for the national bagging contest and a chance to win a $10,000 prize, but the employees from Fareway, including Langel, placed second, third and fourth behind him.

In 2019, while working at Davenport, Langel tried again and placed second out of 24 total baggers, winning $250. Now that he has a management designation, Langel isn’t allowed to enter the contest, but he tries to pass on his bagging technique to the 60 to 70 employees he now oversees, ages 14 to 75 and in all the domains. of the store with the exception of the meat department.

Langel says the biggest challenge of her job is getting the kids to work.

“When you find those who want to work,” he says, “you really try to train them, train them and show them that you like having them around.”

Clinton’s Fareway was voted number one grocery store, number one meat counter and number one groceries store in this year’s River Cities Choice awards, but came in second to Hy-Vee in the liquor store category. Langel says they’re working on it. Yet when he occasionally gets specialty bottles such as certain bourbons off the shelves, he doesn’t overcharge.

“I know what people want to pay,” he says, “I know what they have to pay, I’m not going to overcharge them.”

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