Everything Plus the Kitchen Sink: An Expansion Planning Community Forum
The Chequamegon Food Co-op will be embarking on a year-long expansion process in an effort to open a new grocery store in the spring of 2014. To start the planning, the Co-op and the Alliance for Sustainability are holding a public forum on Thursday, March 28, 2013 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center just west of Ashland. Dubbed “Everything Plus the Kitchen Sink,” this meeting offers community members their best opportunity to give input about the future products, features, and services of the new store.
In 2011, the Co-op purchased the building at 700 West Main Street currently occupied by Bob’s Factory Outlet. The Board of Directors and General Manager Harold Vanselow have set a tentative opening for the new store in the spring of 2014. The expansion planning process will encompass gathering community input, working with an architect to design the new building, and contracting with builders for construction.
Currently, the Chequamegon Food Co-op operates approximately 2,000 square feet of retail space at 215 Chapple Avenue in Ashland. The expansion should entail at least a doubling of the sales floor area. Much of this extra space will be dedicated toward an expanded selection of local products including more locally raised produce, meat, and other food items. Annual sales are projected to rise from $2.6 million in 2012 to $4.4 million by 2015.
In addition to the expanded store space, the Co-op anticipates increasing its staff. Currently, the Co-op employees 26 staff members. That number is expected to rise by anywhere from 10 to 15 additional employees. A number of existing employees may also be move from part-time to full-time status.
If you can’t make it to the meeting tonight, please leave your comments on this post. Comments left here will be added to the information we gather at the community forum as we begin to analyze possible services, features, and products for the new store.5 additional employees. A number of existing employees may also be move from part-time to full-time status.