What goes on at Migros before the stores open their doors for you?

Migros has over 650 supermarkets in Switzerland. Every morning, a large team of staff gets the stores ready while the customers are still asleep. We visited the Marin Centre store in Neuchâtel early one morning to see what the staff were up to.

Pierre Wuthrich

5.00 a.m. – delivering the goods

Alrick Jaquet drives his truck onto the Marin Centre site. Then it’s time to inspect the pallets. Before having the fruit and vegetables unloaded, he needs to make sure nothing’s been damaged. “Things can always happen on the road,­” says the 22-year-old trucker. “But more often than not, they happen during loading, which I’m not responsible for.” He confirms that all the pallets are OK and can be unloaded.

5.15 a.m. – moving the fresh goods

Franklin Fernandes Alves moves the goods from the truck to the store once they’ve been unloaded. The 52-year-old is often the first member of staff to arrive at the store. Early in the morning, he unloads the fresh prod­uce. Later on, deliveries of non-food items arrive. He manoeuvres the forklift skilfully – he’s been operating it for 13 years now.

5.30 a.m. – baking the bread

The smell of fresh bread fills the air. Antoine Vonlanthen (50, bottom left) is a trained baker. “The work here is like in any bakery. We start preparing the dough at 4 o’clock in the morning,” he says. Some 30 types of bread are produced here throughout the day. On this autumn morning, the bakery team is kneading and shaping dough to loud music to get into the swing of things. They turn off the music before the first customers enter the store, of course.

6.30 a.m. – laying out the fish

The fish counter has to be prepared. Christian Mäder pours fresh ice into the eight-metre-long counter – just like every morning. He takes salmon fillets, organic sea bream, oysters and other seafood from the cold store and carefully lays them out. The 54-year-old has been working here for 26 years. He is a key source of advice for customers: “People are often scared of preparing fish. I give them tips on cooking and storage.”

7.00 a.m. – setting out the fruit and vegetables

Seven staff are stocking the shelves in the fruit and vegetable aisles. They’re the first aisles you see when you enter the store – so they need to look perfect. For the past half hour, Arijana Imeri (25) has been arranging newly arrived products and checking the quality of the fruit and vegetables already on the shelves. There are still lots of half-full pallets next to the shelves. They’ll all need to be gone by 8 a.m.

8.00 a.m. – opening of the store

Open at last – store manager Erich Meuwly (56) stands next to the storefront grille, which is slowly rising. He calmly explains that not everything is ready just yet. The teams will be busy stocking shelves all morning. “But the fruit and vegetable aisles look inviting, the other aisles are already well stocked, and the bakery smells of fresh bread. That’s ­what matters most.” The first customers are already entering the store.

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