Email this articleE-mail this story  Discuss this articleWrite letter to editor  Discuss this articleOrder a classified ad
Yellowknife Co-op plans to double

Construction should start in September

Thorunn Howatt
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Aug 28/02) - A grocery store is a good place to buy vegetables, pick up a newspaper or -- best of all -- run into friends.

The Yellowknife Co-op is doubling its size, and that means there is going to be more room to chat in aisles and a cosy little corner to sit and have a cup of coffee.

"We are looking at expanding the store by 21,000 square feet," said Yellowknife Direct Charge Co-op general manager John Taylor.

"The architectural contract has been awarded so they are designing the building right now."

Construction on the addition should start next spring. Plans include a bigger bakery and an expanded deli.

"We would stack our selection up against any of the best down in the South," said Taylor, who added that up until now the store has always been able to stock basics as well as a lot of specialty items. It's running out of room though.

"If we don't expand, then to list new products something would have to go," he said.

"But the biggest improvement we are looking for is lots of customer traffic space: wider aisles, room to stop and visit and pick out your produce," Taylor added.

And it makes sense for a store that is owned by member-shoppers. Co-op members, at their annual general meeting last May, voted on the new renovation-expansions.

Store renovation costs aren't completely firmed up yet. Architects still have to come up with final blueprints.

"Typically with a food store, someone buys the land, builds a building and then jams the food in it. What we've done is we've designed the store," said Taylor as he pointed to a floor plan showing grocery aisles and shop sections.

"Now they are designing a building to encompass what we want."

Construction will be visible as early as next month. That's when crews will get ready to move the gas bar and tank farm.

Yellowknife Co-op had a 30 per cent increase in its membership last year and gave back. The business gave back more than $1 million to its members at the end of the year.