Launching careers: Family Express Corp. hosts tour for Boys & Girls Club

2014-05-11T23:30:00Z 2014-05-12T11:11:12Z Launching careers: Family Express Corp. hosts tour for Boys & Girls ClubDeborah Laverty Times Correspondent
May 11, 2014 11:30 pm  • 

VALPARAISO | Freshly baked doughnuts served at the conclusion of a tour of the Family Express distribution center hit the spot for Bailey Ranta.

Ranta, a fourth-grader at Bailey Elementary, snacked on a donut served with a glass of milk while seated in a meeting room with about a dozen fellow members of the Boys & Girls of Porter County, South Haven unit.

"It was yummy. It was amazing," Ranta declared of the tour.

The Family Express Corp. opened its doors Saturday morning to give a tour of its distribution center and corporation headquarters as part of a Boys & Girls Clubs of America program called Career Launch.

There are some 800 members, grades kindergarten through seniors in high school, in the South Haven club, unit director Ron Ranta said.

Under Career Launch, members as young as first grade can meet those in area industries and learn about job choices, Ron Ranta said.

The program provides a taste of future career possibilities for younger members while older members can even follow up the once a month field trips by practicing job related skills such as writing practice resumes.

"It's a neat program," Ranta said.

Family Express training coordinator Deborah Howard directed most of the tour fielding rapid-fire questions from the young members including how much money employees make and if they receive benefits.

Howard provided a history of Family Express, started as Time Low on Christmas Day in 1975 in Valparaiso, then also showed off the built to scale training store.

"We don't think customers should be guinea pigs," Howard said.

The young participants were treated to a sweet drink in the store prior to touring other areas within the corporate headquarters including the distribution area and bakery.

Youngsters placed protective caps on their head prior to going into the bakery area.

"We're going into where the magic happens," Meagan Dudley, director of the bakery, said.

Employees in the bakery begin preparation of the square donuts, chocolate chip cookies, and muffins at 2:30 a.m.

The bakery makes 17,000 pieces of baked goods each day with a total of six million a year, Dudley said.

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