Right now is that almost-unnerving calm right before everything starts going full-steam ahead.
We’ve spent two years studying the viability of this expansion, courting lenders, writing business plans, doing fiscal forecasting, surveying customers on what they want from the 2012 expansion, and raising owner loans. Now we’re just counting down the days until the primary lender loans finalize (Friday, April 13th is the big day!) so we can begin building what we’ve all worked so hard to make a reality. We -staff, owners, Board, and customers alike- are all waiting with baited breath for the construction kick off.
But your co-op staff is not sitting idle while waiting for the construction green flag by any means! Here are just some of the many things we’re working away at this week to get ready for the expansion:
- Jessy Ruddell, the co-op’s Operations Manager, and Kristi Emilsson, the co-op’s Grocery Manager, are taking the finalized store design plan and detailing it to the next level – figuring out what is going to go on each shelf and how much of it.
- Produce Manager Skeeter Riddle and Perishables Buyer Jonathan Barnes are working directly with local farmers to make sure the expanded store will be stocked with as much local product as possible. They are ironing out details of what each farm can provide as well as talking to new growers to bring in new product offerings.
- Kali Wolf, the co-op’s Front of House Manager, is taking on a task that might not get as much attention, but that will be awesome for the expanded store. Kali is working on restructuring our point-of-sale database -a gargantuan task- so we’ll be able to ring you up far faster in the expanded store’s six register lanes.
- Prepared Foods Manager Amelia Bolt is hard at work creating a list of all the small equipment the new kitchen will need -everything from spatulas to storage containers- as well as mastering new costing software that will allow us to evaluate new recipes for the expanded deli and set fair prices.
- I am combing over final equipment bids and working with General Contractor Tim Gibbs to figure out which pieces of equipment will be needed in each phase of the construction so we can optimize the timing of their arrivals.
- Joy Rust, the co-op’s Marketing Manager, is finishing up a terrific new poster that visually shows the steps we’ve taken to get where we are now, as well as what each step of the construction will be and what it will accomplish. It will be displayed in the store within the next week.
As you can see, we’re keeping very busy around here waiting for the construction team to start. In next week’s update, I’ll talk about the planned phases of the construction covered in the in-store information posters and what each will mean to your co-op experience. Fingers crossed – we’ve got less than two weeks to go until that construction starts in earnest!