Evolutionary Update by Kenna S Eaton, GM 12/07/2016
Planning for the anticipated expansion and remodel of the Co-op has been going on quietly behind the scenes. This upcoming week [12/14/2016] we plan to select a general contractor that we can work with over the course of the next 12 months; in essence we are looking for a company that can meet our needs and that will be a good partner in growing our Co-op.
The selected general contractor [GC] will work with us to develop a project that is both affordable and meets our needs, based on the plan we design. That design is being developed for us by a store planner with a wealth of expertise in small stores like ours- a problem solver as it were.
Other ‘team’ members will be an architect, in this case Jim Williams who has worked with us for almost 10 years and an interior designer, Abbie Greene, who currently works for G. Little and was previously one of our cashiers. Together we will create a plan that is, as I mentioned earlier, affordable and resolves some, if not all, of our challenges.
So, at this point, we are still excited and still not sure what the final plans will look like, nor when they will be ready to be presented to the Board for approval. And while we still don’t know exactly when that will be, we are hoping that it will be March 2017. A reminder: if the Board approve our plans and if the amount of money needed to do the work exceeds about $1.5m we will be asking our members to vote for this much needed upgrade.
Expansion Update- by Kenna S Eaton, GM
It’s been two months since we announced our decision to stay here in our current location and modestly expand to meet the needs of staff, members, and shoppers. Many of you are probably wondering, “What has been happening so far? “
We started the ball rolling by asking each of our managers to tell us what they think needs changing—what isn’t working in their department and why. We collected that information plus their ideas of what new things they would like to do in their departments and gave it to our store planner, PJ Hoffman. PJ has been designing grocery stores for over 40 years and most of that time has been spent in co-ops, so he is uniquely placed to identify and design solutions.
At the same time, we have been working on our operational budget for 2017 as well as developing pro-formas (long-term financial feasibility plans) in order to better understand the financial impact of this project—i.e. how much money can we afford to spend? It won’t be a lot of money, so as I said elsewhere, we won’t get the store of my dreams, or possibly yours, but we will improve our facility to make it easier to both shop and work in—and that will be a huge win.
Over the next month we will identify the general contractor we will work with, as well as nail down our store plans so we can come up with the firm price tag. It’s an iterative process and a collaborative one as well, so it takes time—much like everything else we do around here.
I’d love to hear from you, so if you have any questions or feedback, please don’t hesitate to contact me: email@example.com, and either our marketing manager Ian or I will respond.
Thanks for supporting your cooperative grocery store!