Looking Forward As We Look Back
So close to the finish line! By the look of it, we will open our doors just shy of the two-year anniversary of the beginning of demolition on the Bruegger’s/Enright’s wing of the building. Substantial completion of the new building—at which time we will receive our certificate of occupancy—looks to be right at the end of May or the first week of June.
I dare say that all of us will breathe a sigh of relief when the whole project is behind us, but we are certainly looking forward to the moment when the first shareholders and customers pass through the new entrance. That will be a wonderful feeling, tempered still by the remaining work — removal of the old building and completion of the outside areas.
A Successful Shareholder Loan Drive
The recent shareholder loan drive that we announced at our annual meeting last November was a great success. Our target was an additional $250,000 for the project, and just last week we exceeded that, receiving a total of $302,000. What a wonderful, encouraging response! The closings of the store last August, first at the time of the tragic death of our store manager Michael Martin and then the flash flood three weeks later, reduced revenue that was destined for the project, so the new loans will be used to replace that income.
What occurred in August last year was unbelievably sad and traumatic for our whole community. Co-op shareholders, staff, and board members rallied resolutely to carry on, essential to healing. For me, my own emotional state was very fragile for many months after that time. It was a struggle to even know how to be, faced with the need to try to understand what happened, the desire to address issues, and simply to keep on attending to daily tasks. We all continue to feel the effects of the trauma and will do so for a long time to come, although in time I believe we will learn to remember the good parts and the good people as we carry on.
I recall our heartbreaking events here because they are so intertwined with the manifestation of the strong spirit that was spoken of often last summer and into the fall, and much has been accomplished since then. We all have taken on an increased burden — staff especially, as we summon our strength of spirit, our dedication and knowledge, to make the new Co-op a reality. Shareholders also, sharing our grief, have done their part in helping us all heal.
For me, this time is especially poignant, as I recall without fail every single day that the lead-up to getting the new store open is when Michael Martin would truly have come into his own, with his experience and skills. At the very least, those of us who knew and appreciated him can take our inspiration from his memory.