When does it all "become real"? When our hired professionals start drawing the store on paper! We're excited to share with you our schematic design, the two-dimensional floor plan that places as many of our hopes and dreams as possible in the space.
This drawing is the result of months of work by a lot of people: our volunteer Store Design team guides the work of freshArc, a grocery store designer out of Minneapolis who's designed dozens of co-op and independent grocery stores; Space Architects + Planners, our Chicago-based architect and store design team; and Wynston Estis, a Columinate consultant with grocery store management experience. (Cooperative Development Services (CDS) has rebranded as Columinate)
But the really important part of the team is our Owners. Starting as far back as 2013 when we first began organizing, we've collected input from Owners about the services and features our store should have. All this input was communicated to our pros by our Store Design team to get to where we are now.
Here are a few highlights of the drawing you're seeing:
- This was an iterative process - this is at least the 14th drawing!
- It's a balancing act to place things so that departments interact well, product flows into the store well, and most importantly, that we achieve 8800 square feet of sales floor space, as defined by our market study. In order to meet targeted sales projections, we need that many feet dedicated to product.
- Which is why you see us leveraging the basement for backstock storage and some office spaces, as well as cleverly "bumping out" into the parking lot with a couple coolers.
- We offer two shopper entrances - one at the corner of Wilson and Broadway for walk-in transit traffic, and the other in the back off the parking lot. And we'll build a third entrance at the north end for loading.
- As many aisles as possible are oriented to allow a view to the windows, and we'll keep shelving in front of the windows low to preserve light and views through all our beautiful windows.
- As planned, we'll be a full-service grocery store with grab-n-go prepared foods, a morning commute coffee counter, fresh local produce, meats, cheeses, baked goods, wellness, lots of bulk foods, wine, beer and spirits, a seating and event space and more!
Our Store Design team shared this schematic design with our landlords at the CTA recently and they've approved our moving forward with it. (l to r: J.D. Glick, Dan Miller, Paul Clausen, our owner's rep, Alderman James Cappleman, Greg Berlowitz)
Tell us what you think. What are your impressions? How does the store feel to you now that you see it coming together "on paper"? Comment below or email us your thoughts.
What happens next?
The schematic design will definitely continue to get small tweaks and adjustments and eventually gets converted to a final architectural version that we take in for permitting. Space is beginning the interior design process, which will lead to three-dimensional views with finishes and colors specified, which we'll share when we can. And our owner's rep is collecting construction and equipment bids now too.
Our Store Design team rocks and we're so excited about the progress they've made on our store!