Designs for the interior of the Monadnock Food Co-op’s planned expansion are almost done, and construction could start late this fall or next spring, according to the store’s general manager, Michael B. Faber.
“We are nearing the completion of the interior design and store layout process, which is exciting,” he said Monday.
Faber said the 6,000-square-foot addition will allow the co-op on Keene’s Cypress Street to expand popular departments, such as meats, seafood, the deli and prepared foods. The current store is about 8,000 square feet.
Under consideration are additional prepared meal offerings and perhaps a specialty cheese case, Faber said, though he and his staff are still kicking around ideas for how exactly to use the space. Mostly, it’ll be a bigger, better version of the store that exists now, he said — “nothing upside down.”
The one-story expansion is planned for the co-op’s east side. Like the existing building, it’ll be financed by Monadnock Economic Development Corp., which will lease the space to the co-op until the store can purchase the building in the future, according to Faber.
The project may include constructing a small parking lot with nine spaces on the east side of the expanded building, Faber said. The co-op is also working to secure the use of 24 existing spaces in the store’s parking lot, now used by Cheshire Medical Center.
The cost estimate for construction is about $2.5 million at this point, Faber said.
About $500,000 of that will be offset by a community development block grant the economic-development corporation secured in April.
The co-op is also planning a member-owner loan campaign to fund the purchase of equipment to go into the new space, which is in addition to the construction costs. Faber said the target for that campaign is $1 million, though that figure could change.
A similar campaign was essential to building the co-op in 2013, he said. “We financed our community-owned store entirely from the community.”
The co-op’s nine-member board, which governs the company, has approved raising funds and taking on some debt in connection with the expansion, Faber said. Closer to the groundbreaking, the board will also vote whether to authorize the construction itself.
The co-op, a member-owned market that emphasizes healthy foods and local products, has grown rapidly since it opened in April 2013. Sales topped $11 million in 2017, a spokeswoman said earlier this year.
Store officials have said the co-op is outgrowing its space.