Four Rivers Co-op is spending $6 million to renovate their food store to make it more modern with better equipment and aesthetics.
Allan Bieganski, general manager said it was time to do some major upgrades.
“It will be a modernized store that is here for a long time,” Bieganski said.
In terms of renovations, the Co-op is replacing all the refrigerators on the sale floor of the store including coolers and freezers in the dairy, produce, bakery and deli sections.
They are also replacing their warehouse freezers and coolers that hold back-up stock. “Some of them are too small for our needs and how we are growing our food business,” Bieganski added.
The general manager said they will be adding more freezers as well, as frozen food is common in today’s environment.
Apart from that, the meat-cutting room is also getting revamped.
Bieganski said most departments will stay roughly where they are, but there will be slight changes to the layout with new equipment coming in.
A major component of the $6 million is therefore for replacement and more modern equipment.
Now, with the refrigeration aspect, Co-op is putting in doors on all refrigerators including the dairy section.
The reason for doors, Bieganski said, is that it is more environmentally friendly, aesthetic and helps in energy conservation as well.
Additionally, members and customers who go to the Co-op will also see a new chicken program that is being incorporated.
“So customers can come in and get fried chicken, chicken tenders, potato wedges and so on and so forth. We are really excited about that,” he said.
Apart from changing and upgrading equipment, Bieganski said it is time to also improve the aesthetics and get a brand new floor, more murals and a new decor program, to make the store look fresh. There will be new lighting as well, with better energy efficient LED lights to replace what the store currently has.
Meanwhile, other important changes include — moving the cashiers into the current vestibule area so as to have an expanded space for shopping; renovating the exterior of the Co-op mall to make it more attractive; building proper offices for their food staff, and building a washroom inside the store and more.
In terms of moving the cashiers, Bieganski said the entry point to the Co-op store usually has people congregating there.
“We are redesigning and rebuilding the cashier area. We have limitations on expanding the food store where the cinder block walls and columns are. So rebuilding that area and moving the cashiers out, and squaring off will result in us not having the elevator look anymore. Instead, we will build a new entry-way and put the cashiers out there.”
The contract for the project was given to Western Industrial Contractors based out of Prince George, who won the successful bid. Bieganski said that contractors in Vanderhoof were invited to bid, but WIC won the tender.
However, two or more local sub-trades in Vanderhoof are getting portions of the job.
Moby Concrete Ltd. has received the sub-trade to do the concrete work. Whereas Vanderhoof Machine Works Ltd. is supplying some of the metal for the contractor. Lastly, the biggest sub-trade benefiting is JC’s Water Works Ltd in Vanderhoof that received the mechanical contract to do the work.
The renovation work will approximately take from March until September this year, Bieganski said, adding that construction can be delayed, but that is the approximate time frame.
The last major renovation was done in 1998 and before that in 1977. “Here we are twenty-two years later doing another major renovation because we are here for our customers and want to make sure their needs are met while giving them good service as well.”