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Iowa History Daily: January 17 - Fareway's Founding

Iowa History Daily: On January 17, 1938, the Ames City Council approved a permit for the construction of a new grocery store called Fareway. Started just down the road in Boone by Paul Beckwith, the store grew to represent one of Iowa’s most iconic businesses.

Although the notice in the Ames Tribune boasted the chain would make its headquarters in Story County, the first Fareway Store opened for business at 624 Story Street in Boone, Iowa, on May 12, 1938. Paul Beckwith, as well as co-founder Fred Vitt, worked for the large national chain Safeway. Beckwith decided to start his own chain after noticing a gradual shift in how employees and customers were being treated.

Vitt, serving as the manager of the Boone store and as Vice President, oversaw day-to-day operations as the store proved a quick success. The location in Ames opened soon after Boone, followed by expansion to Webster City, Fort Dodge, Estherville, Carroll, and Oelwein. Fareway's concept of a self-service grocery store, revolutionary at the time, allowed shoppers to pick out their own groceries rather than submitting a list to someone who would package everything for the customer.

Today, Fareway stands as one of the largest employers in Iowa. Currently operating more than 130 store locations in Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, and South Dakota, the store continues to offer full-service meat departments, farm-fresh produce, competitive prices, and a highest level of customer service. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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