ST. CLOUD, Minn. -- Cash Wise Foods, a division of Coborn's here, has begun using a second battery-powered unit that pushes shopping carts from the parking lot back to the customer entrance, at its store in Waite Park, Minn.
The unit, which can be operated by one person, can push as many as 30 standard-size shopping carts at one time, according to Jean Honer, personnel director of the Waite Park store. She said cart gathering is a very important facet of the store's operations.
Honer explained that the first unit was brought in to save time and labor in collecting carts, boost morale of the employees who do this job and ease the workload, particularly during winter months.
"Collecting carts is a very difficult job, and we felt this unit would give our courtesy crew an opportunity to operate a piece of equipment and make their job easier," Honer said. "We have found that it has boosted the morale of the people who work in that area."
The unit also allowed the retailer to cut man-hours in this area. Honer noted that in the first week of using the unit, the store was able to reduce time spent in cart gathering by 25 hours.
"More than cutting back on hours, the unit just made our employees more efficient," Honer said. "They can bring in more carts in an hour using this unit than they can by pushing them by hand. If 15 minutes of that hour is freed up, that is time we can use to bring them into the store to handle other tasks, such as customer service and stocking."
In addition, Honer said, the cart is very useful in winter, when there is snow and slush in the parking lot.
"The winter months run about six to seven months here and this unit works well under those conditions," she added.