By Chris Maher, General Manager
“If everyone is moving forward together, success takes care of itself.” -Henry Ford
Our original 2006 Board and Management projections for the Sierra College Drive store showed that in our first 10 years of operations, our annual sales would grow steadily from $6 million to $16.5 million. Those of you who follow our financial performance in these pages and in our Annual Report know that the current projections for 2017 are approximately $32 million in sales – nearly double those original projections.
This extraordinary success allowed us to negotiate the purchase of our site and building in late 2015, which in turn has allowed us to make a significant investment in upgrading our facility to accommodate the business we have built. We are excited now to tell you about additional upgrades that will take place in the remainder of 2017.
Beginning in Mid-July, we will be undertaking a significant remodeling of the store layout and reset of our merchandise. This work will involve cutting and re-pouring the concrete on our front patio, and moving the front wall and entry-way doors outwards about six feet. The center planter and trellis will be removed as part of this work. Once the wall is moved, we will be able to shift the front-end register boxes slightly and widen our front cross-aisle, alleviating the congestion that occurs there during peak times. After that we will increase our refrigerated space by adding additional high-capacity, low-demand coolers.
Our primary goals in this project are to improve our customers’ experience by easing congestion, and to increase the capacity of our shelves and refrigeration. We will also be able to refresh and replace older equipment and fixtures that have become worn after 10 years of high use. We will also paint the store and upgrade the lighting fixtures to current environmental standards, thus lowering our power usage.
To do this work we have engaged Sutti & Associates, a top-tier natural foods store design-and-build firm that has worked with many co-ops and independent retailers throughout the Western United States. They will be partnering with local subcontractors to complete the remodel by mid-autumn. Most importantly, they will work with our Management team to ensure that shoppers experience the least possible disruption.
Information about this project will appear in The Vine, and a special page will be maintained on our website for construction updates. We will also keep you updated on the project’s progress on our front bulletin boards. And… you can also follow us on social media for updates and learn about cool events as they occur. We found this strategy to be very successful during the construction of our solar array last year.
The grocery industry is going through significant changes. Natural foods, once a fringe element of retail food, are now ubiquitous. Our job as co-op operators is to remain responsive and relevant to our owners and shoppers. This is why we seek a deeper level of connection and engagement than most stores. Your ideas, feedback, and comments are very much welcomed and wanted. When we move forward together, we are greater than the sum of our parts, and the success just takes care of itself.