December 2018 -Expansion Update
As the holidays fast approach, it seems to me that our planning picks up speed as we all hurtle toward a designated date for holiday festivities. Here at the Co-op, we are doing the same thing as our new addition approaches completion. We have accomplished a lot, and there will be several temporary changes that may affect your shopping experience coming up in the next week or so.
We’re eight months into our project and ready to move into the next phase—but we’re challenged by not having a firm date to make our plans around. That’s just the nature of construction schedules. Not that I am complaining; in fact, it’s the opposite. We’re totally excited and can’t wait to move into our new workspace. Regardless of when the actual date arrives, we are preparing thoroughly so that when we’re given the “green light” to move in, we will be able to respond quickly.
Our new workspace is clean and well lit, it’s well organized and it feels so much more functional! To recap: we have a larger produce cooler designed to allow us to roll pallets into the cooler before unloading. The new workspace also has many work tables, lots of large sinks, and even a newly designed station for staff who need to sit down and plan orders, plus work stations for grocery and receiving. We’ve installed a large walk-in freezer for the grocery and meat teams to share, a walk-in cooler for grocery. We also added a larger chilled work room for meat preparation, a larger staff break room, a server room with lots of electrical panels (and miles of lovely conduit!), and last, but certainly not least, a second staff bathroom. Outside, our space to receive deliveries is twice as big as it was, as is our waste/recycling/compost area. Whew! That’s a lot of new space and we are super pleased with how well it’s turned out.
Once our staff has moved in (we need a temporary occupancy permit before we can do that), we will begin remodeling the public washrooms and our cashier office. The doors on the bathrooms are being reoriented to give us a little more room for our new front door.
While this work is being done, there will be a few changes up front that we want you to be prepared for. The community board and telephone will need to come down, as will the TV and the vendor alcove. They will all be back, but it will take some time—up to three months—as things get reworked and relocated. While the bathrooms are out of commission, we will bring in two “honey huts” (portable toilets, one will be ADA) for customers to use. We expect this will all take place during our upcoming busy holiday season, so thank you in advance for being patient with us as this important work gets completed.
Between Christmas and New Year’s, we plan to move our bulk department into the current dining room. But before that can happen, we’ll need to add some more electricity to the room, which means we need to close the dining room while this gets work done. So, what does this mean for you and our great food? We will still be cooking up a storm, but we will close the deli register (for good) and store away the dishes (just during construction), so you’ll be getting your deli favorites as take out.
Thank you once again for bearing with us during this work—we know it can sometimes be trying, and we are grateful that you support us as we work toward an even better Co-op, with more awesome food options and a bright, fresh look that we think will take us well into the future. Thank you and Happy Holidays!
November 1st, 2018 Expansion Update
As the days get shorter we are getting closer to moving into our new workspace at the Co-op and staff are busy planning both how to make the transition and in which order we think it’ll happen. In fact, the move has about 7 different teams scratching their heads and planning their work; from moving our receiving desk (currently in the south entrance) back to the north side to grocery moving out of the dining room. Other departments such as produce, meat, wellness, IT, maintenance and even the front end have a role to play and work to do, so frankly it’s an all-out team effort. Right now we are planning for this work to occur shortly after Thanksgiving, however, we still don’t know exactly when….ack! Don’t worry, we’ll let everyone know when we know, I think we’ll be simply too excited to keep it a secret!
Inside the store you may have noticed that some of the floor tiles have been removed. Possibly you recall me telling you earlier that the tile is beginning to disintegrate which I’m told is a result of us being built so low (just a little bit over 9ft above sea level). Apparently, the salts are seeping up through the concrete and, in turn, destroying the tile. The advice we’ve gotten is to take up the tile and leave the floor to do its thing—settle and breathe, so, our plan is to do just that. Eventually we will polish up the floor before putting on a light sealant, but basically it will look much as it does now with the ‘ghost’ of the tiles providing the pattern. We will also see any cuts, repairs or any other ‘imperfections’ in the floor—a far cry from the multi- hued/multi-patterned floor that we‘ve all been used to. And while I know some of us will miss that vibrant floor tile I think that the concreate underneath has its own type of quiet beauty that will allow us to better showcase the inherent wonder of our products and people. Over the upcoming months, as time allows, the construction team will be working their way around the store pulling up tile and preparing us for the final finished product.
Please remember that during this next phase (Phase2) we will be rebuilding our north entry and all customers will need to use the south door (the bay side) for about a month.
Oct. 19th, 2018 Expansion Update
Week of Monday 10/22- Friday 10/26-
Cranes lifting compressors onto the roof top of the addition
Preparing the back end of the parking lot for paving
Paving the back end of the parking lot
Oct. 4th, 2018 Expansion Update
This month we expect to complete most of the work on our addition, also fondly known as Phase 1. As we come down to the end of this section we all feel like progress is finally being made. This past week the shingles were installed on the addition and soon (weather permitting) you’ll see them being painted. Both the shingles and the concrete are to be painted or stained a warm, deep grey. Recently I told the staff that my new favorite color is grey- why? Because it hides the dirt so well!
In October we will complete the interior work, install new cooler boxes and fire doors and basically work our way towards a ‘temporary occupancy permit’. As soon as that permit is approved we can move our base of operations into that space. But before we can use all of it we will also need approval from the health dept. to ensure that any food preparation is being done safely. I can easily imagine those permits may end up arriving on different days, or even weeks, so it is possible that we could begin to work in our addition but not be allowed to fully utilize our new meat department (for example) –I’m sure it will be yet another lesson in patience and flexibility, for all of us!
When Phase 1 is completed work on Phase 2 – preparing to change the dining room into our new bulk room-- will begin as soon as possible. The other big project we are planning during this phase is remodeling the north entry. During this time all customers will have to use the south entry (the Penny Saver side), please note: this is a temporary change that will last only as long as it takes for the construction crew to do what we’ve asked them to do (for more information on our plans please read last month’s blog).
While the crew is working on the north entry we will also need to make some temporary modifications to our parking area. For example the GC will need to relocate their work shop closer to their new work area. Please be aware that it is possible that they will need to occupy a few parking space during this phase, but we are all hoping this phase doesn’t last too long.
Talking about the entry way—you may remember this will be the home of the water dispenser, in addition to shopping carts, empty boxes, etc. Recently several customers have asked us to add a second water dispenser and we want you to know that we hear you (and see you lining up!) and it is under consideration. However, as with most things, we also have to balance time and money, so it is possible we won’t able to add that second spout this year. Frankly, we all know how complex projects like ours have a way of costing more than planned. And, in our case, we are committed to ensuring that our work is functional and safe, if not pretty, in order to be cost effective. In fact, we are so committed to keeping this project affordable, we are looking for ways in which we can save money now—like an awning over the front door—and postpone these desired items until another year.
Thanks to all of our members for supporting their Co-op so far through this project. We appreciate your flexibility and patience with us —and hopefully you’ll continue to do so as we navigate the rest of this work. We are still super excited about the planned changes and look forward to each new phase! It’s all fun!