January 2023 continued…..
Exciting new pictures from the inside of our new grocery store. Imagine it filled to the brim with fresh produce, meats, dairy, locally sourced items, beer, wine, and even toilet paper. Everything you need in one convenient place. Thanks to our building committee for helping to keep us on track for a Spring 2023 opening. A special shout out to Eco Developers for making the Lovettsville Town Commons so pretty.
For those of you visiting from our social media sites, here is what was behind the cardboard. For the rest of you, this is one of many future updates on construction. This is our first official sign that will be prominently displayed on the front of our store. It is 5 feet by 6 feet and thanks to Ellis B and Rich G and the talents of local sign maker, Sign Design Inc. of Purcellville, we have our first permanent attachment to the store.
Construction continues to roll along and a lot of behind-the-scenes financial and administrative work is being done daily by your volunteer Board. Here are some highlights of these intensive efforts:
– Our developer, EcoDevelopers, is charging forward with construction to help us meet our goal of opening by the end of first quarter 2023.
-Our architect is finalizing the detailed drawings.
-We have ordered over $500,000 in refrigeration equipment for the store.
-We have signed an agreement with National Co-op Bank for a $950,000 Small Business Administration (SBA) loan. This loan is contingent on our raising adequate capital from members, however.
-We continue pursuing every avenue possible for grant funding.
-Membership outreach is dynamic and we are staffing tables at various community events continuing to provide information to our community-at-large. New members have joined at several of these events.
-And, we are ramping up for Phase III of the Capital Campaign to raise the final $300,000 needed to open our store!
Construction has begun! Crews on site laying in utility lines and more. Stop by any day to see our progress. Yes, it is happening and thanks to our dedicated membership having faith in us and providing financial support.
Annual Meeting on February 24. Announcement of 2022 Board of Directors, updates on membership, financials, introduce our interim General Manager, updates on design and status of the store, presentation by Gary Large of Eco Developers. Discussion of factors affecting the delayed opening from 4th quarter 2022 to 1st quarter 2023.
The site plan was approved by the Lovettsville Town Council and Loudoun County. The store design has been completed.
We contracted with Garland McQueen, our interim General Manager, who has extensive experience with food co-op start up operations. He has been instrumental in reviewing and finalizing the store design with our Building Committee.
Here is the updated store design plan from UNFI!
On October 9 we had our symbolic Ground Breaking and a fabulous Fall Market featuring some of our stellar local producers. Estimates are that we had about 300 people enjoy purchasing from the vendors, walk through the outlined footprint of the Co-op, and get updates on construction. Gary Large and Jennifer Perry, of Eco Developers, staffed a tent to provide graphics and information on their company that incorporates sustainable building practices in their projects. Gary, one of the principals, told the crowd that he hopes to break ground in November and expects it will take 8-9 months to finish the project.
Below is an aerial photo before the crowds!
The developer, Lovettsville Square South LLC, has purchased the property and it’s full speed ahead for the final tweaks on store design, contracting with an interim General Manager to provide experienced input and oversight of the store design and details as we get more into the fine tuning of the store. We have a Building Committee that has been working steadfastly on reviewing the layout and store infrastructure requirements (e.g. equipment). The Finance Committee continues to review the store budget and overall Co-op financial needs. Phase I of our Capital Campaign ended in July for our dedicated team of volunteers to take a well deserved summer break. At the conclusions of the Phase I Capital Campaign, we raised over $1 million in member loans, received a $10,000 grant from the Loudoun County Farm Bureau, and several donations to fund opening our grocery co-op! Phase II of the Capital Campaign begins in early September.
Here is the site plan for our store! The location is in the 2.6 acre lot on the southwest corner across from the Town Square. Eco Developers will build our grocery co-op as the anchor for this new section.
We have a definitive lease signed as of January 2021 with Lovettsville Square South LLC! This is a legally binding contract and opens the way for us to move into our final phase, Phase 3, to open our store. It has taken a long time to get here, but the LCM is ready to build our full service grocery store. We will lease a 7,000 square foot grocery store, with an option to purchase, in downtown Lovettsville on the southside of the Town Square. Our Co-op will be open 7 days a week serving everyone, members and non-members alike. 75% of our products will be natural or organic, sourced locally whenever possible. We will have a deli and grab-n-go meals serving lunch and dinner, and will be stocked with local beers and wines. No more driving for miles for your groceries!
The Co-op is now working with a store designer and architect to develop the detailed store plans which will be built to our specs. The design will also incorporate new guidelines for grocery stores since the COVID-19 pandemic has influenced changes in how stores are laid out. Parallel to our activities, Lovettsville Square South LLC will be working on their detailed design, engineering, and permitting for the overall site with construction scheduled to begin in early 2022. The goal is to have all construction completed and the store opening in the third quarter of 2022.
We have a tremendous amount of work ahead, but we are confident we will bring a community-owned grocery store to Lovettsville. It’s now time for all of our friends and neighbors in the community to pull together and support our local Co-op. Support your community grocery store by becoming a member-owner if you aren’t already and encouraging friends and neighbors to join with us too.