Expansion Update: Week of Dec. 31, 2018
The final touches on the expansion project are taking place over the next week as we count down to our Celebration event on Thursday, Jan. 17. Staff worked together to move entire aisles of product into place on the sales floor. Large wall graphics went up in the Bulk department and the entryway, new video monitors were installed in Customer Service and the seating area, and more local producer pictures will be hung in Produce in the coming days. Additional wayfinding signage is currently being hung throughout the store. Furniture and fixtures are going into the expanded seating area and new Education Room.
Expansion Update: Week of Dec. 31, 2018
The Produce prep area is completed and operational, as is the new loading dock. This week, bulk fixtures will be moved into place, and the plastic barrier that has been up since July will come down for good. Décor and wayfinding work continue throughout the store, as cabinetry and other millwork is installed over the next two weeks. Finally, the Education Room is nearing completion in anticipation of the upcoming Opening Celebration on Jan, 17.
Expansion Update: Week of Dec. 19, 2018
We are nearing the completion of the remodel of the Produce prep area. This week, floor work and plumbing is taking place, and we expect the plastic tarp to come down soon to reveal the new addition. Work also continues in the bulk department, where we are installing new fixtures (such as a sink). Vinyl wall applications will be installed in coming days, too. Expect to see wayfinding and aisle signage going up soon, in addition to more local producer images. Floor polishing will soon wrap up in the seating area and Education Room, making it ready for the Opening Celebration on Jan. 17.
Expansion Update: Week of Dec. 12, 2018
We are on schedule to finish the remodel of the Produce prep area by Dec. 20. Work is wrapping up on the floors and the area has been framed and sheet rocked. Floor polishing has begun in the Front End and seating area and will be completed by next week. Installation of cabinets and equipment is taking place in the new Education Room. The wooden beams above the new coffee & juice bar were installed late last week, along with the large Valley Natural Foods logo along the subway tile wall, giving the area a more intimate feel. You will also notice the large posters featuring some of our local producers and farmers above the Meat & Seafood and Dairy coolers. Look for more producer features throughout the store in coming weeks.
Expansion Update: Week of Dec. 5, 2018
Significant process can be seen around the store this week. The long-awaited drive-thru window is now open and ready for business. Customers can order coffee, juices and smoothie drinks, as well as new smoothie bowls around on the south side of the store. Work continues on the Produce prep area and back-of-house areas, in addition to the new education room and expanded seating area. You’ll also notice new vinyl wrapping around the customer service desk and above the dairy coolers, Meat & Seafood and the Deli in the back of the store. Look for more wayfinding signage and decor work as the week progresses.
Expansion Update: Week of Nov. 26, 2018
Work has begun on the final phase of remodeling, which will result in completion of our new produce prep area and back-of-store areas. The new produce cooler is in place, and demolition on the old bulk walls began on Monday. We expect completion of this by mid-December. This will widen the north side of the store and connect the retail departments in the back of the store with those in the front. Our new education room and conference room utilities are being roughed in, and cabinetry is being assembled. We expect our new coffee-juice bar drive-thru to open towards the end of this week! The new outdoor signage for the drive-thru is being fabricated and should arrive in two weeks. The final touches on our décor package have also begun. Expect to see new signage, messaging and wayfinding over the next two weeks.
Expansion Update: Week of Nov. 19, 2018
The new kitchen is open, and the Deli continues to add more features almost daily. Check out the new cheese case, bakery cases and taco bar. The Meat & Seafood department is creating a number of new value-added offerings. More shelves and product continue to be added to Grocery, as well. This week, we’ll resume sanding and polishing the floors in the new addition. Significant work on the Produce prep area and Bulk section will occur. We look to the coffee/juice drive-thru opening soon, as well.
Expansion Update: Week of Nov. 12, 2018
Last weekend saw the momentous occasion of the partition wall coming down and the new expanded area opening. The Deli kitchen is up and running, allowing us to offer all of our favorite offerings, as well as many new ones. The Meat & Seafood service case is fully stocked, and they are processing once again. Heading into next week, we will continue to add to the grocery shelf sets, as well as begin work on the produce prep area and the bulk department. We hope to see the reopening of the coffee drive-thru in coming days, too.
Expansion Update: Week of Nov. 5, 2018
We continue to move closer and closer to opening the new addition to the store. We hope to remove the partition wall and have select shopping available in the remodeled Deli and Meat & Seafood departments this weekend, in time for the Holiday Preview. We also look to reopen the juice and coffee bar, as well as the drive-through, in coming days.
This week saw the reset of the Produce department. Going forward, we’ll begin work on the reconstruction of the Bulk department, as well as the Produce prep area.
Expansion Update: Week of Oct. 29, 2018
A flurry of activity will continue throughout the remainder of the project. Behind the partition, significant progress is being made daily, with major fixtures, such as the new hot bar, salad bar, cheese case, meat service case and produce cooler arriving this week. We’ll be pouring concrete where temporary meat and deli coolers were located, and new flooring will go in receiving and the new Produce area. Next week we’ll start setting up the Deli kitchen and Meat & Seafood department and begin production once again. On the sales floor, we’ll begin the major task of resetting the entire Grocery department.
Expansion Update: Week of Oct. 22, 2018
Tremendous progress is being made both inside and outside of the store as we head into the home stretch of the expansion. This week, the bathroom will be remodeled, and work will start on the new produce prep area. Refrigerated service cases will arrive on Monday for installation next week. By the end of the week, we will have completed the mill and overlay of our parking lot area.
Remodeling of the Customer Service area will also start this week, with the check-out lanes all getting a new look. Our new kitchen and food prep areas received an epoxy floor treatment in preparation for new equipment arriving. Finally, the new rooftop HVAC units are being installed this week.
Expansion Update: Week of Oct. 15, 2018
If you were outside the store on Wednesday morning, you may have seen the massive new HVAC unit being hoisted onto the roof. Inside the store, significant progress has been made in the new addition behind the partition wall. The future juice and coffee bar and drive-thru window is beginning to take shape, as are the Deli and Meat service counters and our coolers. Our receiving area is under heavy construction at this time, as well, which has necessitated moving product in the departments around almost daily. Work has now begun on the seating area, which will eventually expand considerably into that area of the former classroom, allowing more room for community events. We appreciate everyone’s patience during the disruptions.
Expansion Update: Week of Oct. 8, 2018
Weather often plays a role in construction projects, and this season is no exception to that: re-work of the drainage at the front north corner of the store has been moved to Oct. 16, with asphalt resurfacing of the area immediately afterwards. Mill and asphalt overlay of the upper front parking lot and access, along with the final asphalt surfacing of the new parking area, is also planned for the week of Oct. 15.
The remodel of our kitchen, Deli and Meat & Seafood departments has begun and will continue for the next few weeks. Work on a second, south side opening has begun, which will connect the current store to the Deli, coffee/juice bar, and Meat & Seafood sections of the new store. We are already seeing some of the finishing touches in the new addition, such as subway tile and cook-line installation, and many wall surfaces are ready for painting. It’s an exciting time, with many changes and remodel activities occurring in this final major phase of the project.
Expansion Update: Week of Oct. 1, 2018
Great progress has been made in the new addition. You’ll have noticed the giant plastic partitions up over the Deli and Meat & Seafood counters. That’s because the the first openings that connect the new addition to the existing store have been completed. Currently, insulation and drywall are being installed and prepped for painting. On the other side of the partition, kitchen venting hoods and fire protections systems are being installed, and walk-in coolers and freezers have been completed and attached to the central refrigeration rack system. This week we’ll also see landscaping and irrigation installations prior to the cold weather arriving.
Although the Deli and Meat & Seafood are shut down, we still have plenty of offerings. We have daily selections of hot soups in the Deli area, as well as sandwiches and fresh salads. We also have a full cooler full of meat and poultry. And don’t forget to swing by our new self-serve coffee station right inside the Produce doors.
Expansion Update: Week of Sept. 24, 2018
Our second major interior remodel effort begins this week with the closing of the meat prep room and back of house storage area. We’ll still be offering a large selection of meat cuts, poultry and pork, prepackaged in the large reach-in cooler. This is in preparation for the first punch through to connect the new addition with the existing store. This punch through will be a 40-foot section, over which a 5,000-lb. 50-foot beam will be installed to support the new/old roof connection. It is the first of two openings and beams to connect the new addition. Once we have the first punch through completed, we will move our dock-lift and receiving operations to the new dock location. The old loading dock will be walled in, and the new produce cooler will be built in its place. We’ll also finish the exterior walkways in the upcoming week, providing easier access to and around the parking lot area.
Expansion Update: Week of Sept. 17, 2018
The paving of the back addition to the parking lot is complete, with landscaping set to begin next week. The extremely wet weather has driven a lot of the work indoors, but we were able to finish some exterior masonry work and curbing in the front parking lot. All exterior signage is now in place, as well. Inside the store, we’ll begin focus on plumbing and tiling. Work in the front end will begin in the coming days, with the check-out stations getting a new look.
Expansion Update: Week of Sept. 10, 2018
The weather has been a little more cooperative for us this week in terms of the expansion. Hopefully, people have started to notice the new signage above the front entrance, as well as on the south side of the store and on the pylon signs on either side of the parking lots. This week has seen a good deal of work taking place in the parking lot and around the perimeter of the store, with asphalt, curbs and concrete aprons all being poured.
In the coming days we’ll see the check stands in the Front End recovered. In the back of the house, we’ll begin work on the receiving office and a new electrical room. One of our largest pieces of equipment will also arrive. We’ll hoist the enormous HVAC unit onto the roof sometime this week.
Expansion Update: Week of Sept. 3, 2018
The soggy weather has presented some challenges this week in the expansion, but progress continues, both inside and outside the store. A good deal of our large equipment arrived this week, which includes walk-in coolers and freezers, our cooling rack and the HVAC for the new space. Installation of overhead plumbing is also underway. Shoppers will notice the painting going on in the seating area and entryway vestibule. New lighting continues to go up throughout the store, as well. Look for new coverings on all the check lanes sometime next week. Probably the most noticeable addition is the new “Valley Natural Foods” letters that went up on the front of the store on Wednesday. New branded signage will also go along the south side of the store and on the parking lot signs in coming weeks.
Expansion Update: Week of Aug. 27, 2018
We’re seeing great progress on the store this week and look for increased activity as we move into the halfway point in the expansion and remodel project. The concrete slab has been poured and nearly finished, and more site work continues, with laying of gravel over the site this week (weather permitting) as a precursor to the first layer of asphalt. We’ll also receive our new refrigeration compressor rack and other heavy pieces of equipment this week.
Inside the store, we are beginning to see glimpses of our “new look,” as painting, lighting and floor work continues. Produce and Wellness are nearing completion, with the front seating area, checkout lanes and entrance/exit areas next in line for re-work and interior décor.
Expansion Update: Week of Aug. 20, 2018
A lot is happening, both inside and outside the store. New lighting fixtures are being installed, and work on the floors in Wellness is almost complete. New Wellness shelving will be installed and stocked next week. The store’s new look is beginning to take shape. This is evident in Produce, where walls and ceiling painting is now underway. Final grading and contouring of the parking lot is also nearly complete, and we will lay the first layer of asphalt by the end of next week. Finally, the concrete slab for the interior of the new addition is on schedule to begin being poured at the end of this week.
Expansion Update: Week of Aug. 13, 2018
Significant progress has taken place on both the interior and exterior. The final fill of the exterior walls is nearly complete. Final grading and shaping of the new parking lot and curbs will take place next week, and we’ll begin to see contours of the new parking areas. The first layer asphalt will follow, starting around Aug. 27. Underground utilities work continues, and will eventually tie to the existing store area. The sign above the front entrance has been removed. Work to upgrade and re-paint the stucco façade will be complete by the end of this week. Look for the installation of our newly branded front entrance sign around Aug. 29.
Inside the store, work continues with a focus on the floors in wellness and produce. Our first set of new gondola shelving has been built and stocked, with more to shelves to follow this week and next. By the end of August we should see completion in Wellness, chips and beverages. Lighting continues with the installation of the high-bay lighting fixtures, and additional pendant and grid-mounted spot lights will be installed in various areas over the coming weeks. The curved soffit over customer service is also complete and painted, with recessed overhead lighting installed.
Expansion Update: Week of Aug. 6, 2018
Despite the intermittent rain, work on the expansion continues, with grading and compaction work in process. The roof of the addition is nearly finished and is scheduled to be complete on Aug. 13.
Things continue to be busy inside the store. Most work has moved to the center of the store. Painting of the front soffits has begun (they are now green), electrical work continues, and center store slighting will begin next week. Product from aisles 5–6 has temporarily moved to the former classroom space. Next, we will move other grocery shelves around in preparation for the arrival and construction of new shelving. We’ll be putting several grocery and wellness aisles up on rolling “gondola trains.” This will allow floor work to continue as we roll entire rows of product around while the new floor takes shape underneath.
The front-entrance sign will come down sometime in the next week to make way for stucco work and the painting of the façade, as well as the arrival of our newly branded lighted entrance signage at the beginning of September.
Expansion Update: Week of July 30, 2018
This week saw several significant milestones in the expansion. The precast walls are up and sealed, the structural steel was installed earlier in the week, and our new roof is now in place over the expanded section of the store. We’re scheduled for to have it “topped” on Aug. 10. Over the next two weeks, weather permitting, we’ll see underground systems construction (electrical/refrigeration/sanitation) and roof blocking to shore up openings for the new rooftop HVAC units.
Inside the store, the expanded seating area and former classroom floors were ground and polished. New architectural soffits around the perimeter of the store have been built and will be taped and sanded this week. Our first significant movement of grocery shelves will occur later this week to clear a path for additional work on the floor, with grind and polish to take place in aisles 6–8 (frozen foods and grocery).
Expansion Update: Week of July 23, 2018
It’s been an eventful week in the expansion and remodel process at VNF. The big news is that the precast panels are now up along the west side of the store! Filling in of the trenches around the walls and sealing of the walls will take place the rest of this week. Look for work on the structural steel joists and the roof to begin next week, with roof completion expected by Aug. 7 or 8. Starting July 30, work will begin to bring the area back to grade level in preparation for asphalt and curbing.
Work inside the store also continues at a rapid pace, with floor work, new soffits and electrical/lighting taking place. Relocation of frozen foods is complete, and full product selections are expected to be in place by Friday.
Expansion Update: Week of July 16, 2018
A good deal of exterior and interior work will be going on this week and into the next. The relocation of frozen foods is underway and is expected to be complete by the end of next week. In the front of the store, soffits will be hung above the front end and the Customer Service desk. We’ll also install a new produce cooler and remove a block partition wall in the receiving area, making way for expansion of the produce prep area.
On the exterior, joist pockets are being cut into the west side upper exterior wall to hold the structural steel trusses that will eventually support the roof over the new section of the store. We expect the precast concrete exterior panels to arrive on site sometime next week. After that, we hope to see quick progress in erecting the new section exterior walls.
Expansion Update: Week of July 9, 2018
Exterior construction work continues on schedule, and the first phases of work on the sales floor began this week. The concrete footings for the exterior walls and partitions were poured, as well. The joist-bearing pockets have been cut to accept structural steel elements that will soon arrive on site, and the exterior precast concrete walls are on schedule for arrival.
Inside the store, we have consolidated the number of product facings in Aisle 8 (juices, beverages, paper goods, etc.) and moved the shelving to the front seating area. This makes way for relocating our frozen food section. Channel cutting of the concrete floor in Aisle 8 is complete and ready for electrical and plumbing, and SouthTown Refrigeration is scheduled to begin sub-floor and overhead piping for the frozen section.
Expansion Update: Week of July 2, 2018
Site work continues for the rest of this week, with soils correction, excavation for footings and footing forms finishing out the week. Next week will see the first significant changes to take place inside of the store. Aisle 7 – currently frozen foods – will begin its move to aisle 8 (paper goods, cleaners and pet supplies / juices and beverages). We will be moving these shelving units from Aisle 8 and relocate them to the front of the store, in the guest seating area. They will be arranged in a large L-shaped arrangement around the perimeter of the seating area, allowing for relatively easy shopping. Our refrigeration contractor will be creating new drains and channels in the concrete to prepare for the newly located frozen cases. The classroom area will be unavailable as it undergoes remodeling. We will set up one or two community seating areas for owners and guests to take the place of the dozen or so single tables. We expect to complete this first phase by July 24-27.
Expansion Update: Week of June 25, 2018
The upcoming two weeks will bring significant progress and changes. Site work continues on the new addition area with the relocation of our water and gas mains. Underpinnings and installation of the support piers will take place, with concrete forms and footings to follow. Work also begins in earnest on the interior of the store. Frozen foods will be the first area to be relocated, while our classroom undergoes demolition and rework that will eventually result in expanded customer seating. We’ll temporarily move part of our grocery selection to the front of the store by the windows in the customer seating area. Look for signage and to our great staff for directions on where to find beverage and paper goods that have been moved.
Expansion Update: Week of June 18, 2018
This week will see the relocation of our water main and preparation for gas main relocation. Jersey barriers have been placed on the frontage road near Cornerstone Copy to create a safer passage for pedestrians and staff. A temporary pathway is being created leading from the frontage road to the teaching garden path and front entrance. Our contractors will be cutting block wall for the new bar joists that will support the new roof structure. Look for additional site work to continue as we move towards preparing for new pavement, sidewalks and curbing.
Expansion Update: Week of June 11, 2018
Demolition of the car wash and debris removal is now complete. Excavation for helical pile installation will occur this week. These piles will anchor the concrete footings that will support the exterior concrete walls. Kraus-Anderson is working with CenterPoint Energy to coordinate gas line relocation, and prior utilities connections have been capped and inspected by the city. New electrical, gas and communications utilities will be installed and re-routed over the next week. Kraus-Anderson and Valley Natural Foods are now working with our sub-contractors to coordinate the schedule of the remodel of the store’s interior.
Expansion Update: Week of June 4, 2018
The long-awaited demolition of the car wash has taken place and Valley Natural Food’s expansion and remodel is underway. After we closed our drive-thru for the duration of construction, a highly skilled excavator operator made short work of the car wash, razing the structure in little over one day. Removal of the car wash’s concrete footprint, surrounding asphalt and curbing will take place over the next few days, and we’ll also be removing the light poles for future use. Site work will continue into the week of June 11, with preparations being made for installation of the helical piles/piers and concrete footings. These will form the foundation for the store’s precast concrete outer wall panels. Installation of utilities will also take place over the next two weeks. Expect to see more earth moving equipment and backhoes, some very large dump trucks and our utilities providers on site.
Expansion Update: Week of May 28, 2018
Kraus-Anderson is now on-site, has set up their project trailer, and is preparing for the first phases of construction. Fluorescent lights, ballasts and other potentially hazardous materials are being removed from the car wash, with demolition scheduled to begin this week. Removal of curbing and existing landscaping will also occur. The gates for the perimeter safety fencing will go up on Tuesday or Wednesday, effectively closing our drive-thru service window for the duration of construction. Expect to see earth-moving equipment around the site as Kraus-Anderson prepares the back area of the store for the 8,000-square-feet addition and installation of the pre-cast exterior panels.
Expansion Update: Week of May 21, 2018
We have arrived at the start of our expansion project. After bidding farewell to the neighboring carwash with a staff party, construction of the new Valley Natural Foods expansion begins this week. On May 24 we will see the arrival of our general contractor Kraus-Anderson’s first teams on site. From May 25–29, the perimeter safety fencing around the construction site will be erected, and you can expect to see the Kraus-Anderson project trailer along the front side of the store. Once our teams have tied into the utilities grids, we will see the long-anticipated demolition of the car wash (and if you drive by between now and May 31, you can see our staff artistry on display on the carwash).
Expansion Update: Week of May 14, 2018
We’ve experienced a slight delay in the start date on our expansion. Last week, our general contractor Kraus-Anderson became aware of the requirement for asbestos testing on the car wash prior to its demolition. Although the use of asbestos in construction was no longer a common practice when the car wash was built circa 2000, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency nonetheless required a test to be performed. As expected, test results showed no traces of asbestos. However, the subsequent reporting and certification process will postpone the construction start date by approximately two weeks.
In other expansion news:
- After negotiations, we are signing with Kraus-Anderson to be our general contractor.
- Our equipment selections are on a positive track.
- We are currently looking at bids for the fabrication and installation of our interior design and décor elements.
Architect's rendering of new produce dept.
Architect's rendering of newcustomer service area
Architect's rendering of new front end area
Architect's rendering of new bulk area
Architect's rendering of new deli and juice bar seating area
Architect's rendering of new classroom
Architect's rendering of new seating area
Our expansion and full-store remodel ushers in a new chapter in Valley Natural Foods’ 40-plus-year history. The expanded Valley Natural Foods will enable the co-op to provide a more contemporary shopping experience for owners and customers. Some of the features will include:
- An increased store footprint of nearly 8,600 square feet.
- Increased retail space of 3,400 square feet; kitchen and production areas will increase by 3,600 square feet. Receiving, mechanical, and office space will increase by 1,600 ft.
- Wider shopping aisles.
- An additional 40 parking spaces will be added to the property, including six new spaces by the back entrance.
- New HVAC and refrigeration control systems will help reduce environmental impact.
- A wider variety of hot and ready-to-eat housemade meals
We will also add retail shelf space in all departments. Fresh and prepared foods and wellness programs, in particular, will see significant increases, including:
- Deli and Kitchen: 1,100 additional square-feet for increased production and retail capacity
- Produce: an additional 120 square feet
- Meat and Seafood: larger service cases and an additional 12 feet of shelf space for an expanded meat selection
- Wellness: an additional 50 linear feet of shelving units
The remodeled store will also feature a newly expanded seating area. The current classroom will be remodeled, as well, to give the space a more communal atmosphere.
The entire project slated to be complete by late 2018 or early 2019. The co-op will remain open throughout the duration of the remodel.