MOTORIZED UNIT AIDS CART COLLECTION AT CUB FOODS

PLYMOUTH, Minn. -- A Cub Foods store here, a franchise of Cub Foods, owned by Supervalu, Minneapolis, is saving 40 hours a week in labor by using a motorized cart to retrieve shopping carts scattered around its parking lot.The motorized cart attaches to the rear of a line of as many as 80 carts on dry pavement -- 40 on snow -- to push them to the front of the store. One person can both steer the line

PLYMOUTH, Minn. -- A Cub Foods store here, a franchise of Cub Foods, owned by Supervalu, Minneapolis, is saving 40 hours a week in labor by using a motorized cart to retrieve shopping carts scattered around its parking lot.

The motorized cart attaches to the rear of a line of as many as 80 carts on dry pavement -- 40 on snow -- to push them to the front of the store. One person can both steer the line of carts from the front and use a remote control device to activate the motorized cart.

"One of the reasons we decided to bring this in is we anticipated saving up to 40 hours a week in not having to staff an additional person to do all this pushing when we're busy," said Rich Dorfner, store manager at Plymouth Cub Foods.

"The busier we get, the more people we have to put in the parking lot to collect the carts," said Dorfner. The unit, which was purchased by Cub Foods a year and a half ago, paid for itself in its first year of operation.

Cub has no plans to add any more units because one is sufficient to clean its lot of shopping carts, he added. The parking lot is approximately 3 acres, around a 68,000-square-foot store.

The unit has also helped in reducing turnover and recruiting employees, said Dorfner, noting that the two people whose primary job it is to collect carts have been with the company for the past year and a half. "The unit makes the job tolerable, particularly in inclement weather," he said.

The remote-controlled shopping cart retrieval system comes from Dane Industries, Plymouth, Minn.