The Grand Opening Will Be Grand
by Alex Gyori
The past two years have been filled with profound disruptions and delays, culminating in the decision to move and open for business in the new store despite much unfinished work. In the process, our greatly loyal and long-suffering shareholders, as well as other community members, have continually invented and reinvented ways to overcome the many and varied obstacles created by the construction work-- clear evidence of the genuine support that exists for the creation of our new Co-op. The end of the disruption is in sight, though, and the coming season of holidays will certainly be a time of celebration. In the meantime, work proceeds.
As I write these lines the old building is disappearing before our eyes, an inkling of what the newly opened-up area will look like emerging. My reaction is complex, encompassing some sadness and elation, a touch of anxiety and relief. I experienced a definite but fleeting twinge of angst watching the front wall crash to the ground. “There’s really no going back now, we have to make this work!” I thought to myself. Fortunately, that sensation lasted only a brief couple of seconds, quickly replaced by a robust feeling of satisfaction.
A number of shareholders have asked why we pushed ahead before everything was finished, which added more stress to the transition. The decision was driven by the need to have the new store equipment in operation before the last day of our fiscal year, June 24, in order to qualify for a significant income-tax benefit based upon the accelerated depreciation allowable for the equipment. In so doing we avoided a ten-fold increase in our tax liability, which will reduce the impact on the very tight cash flow projected for the first six months.
There is much to do still before we get to our Grand Opening in November. The electricians are fine-tuning the lighting control systems, putting in switches and dimmers and automatic features that adjust to light conditions. The refrigeration system is running well, and we are tweaking the settings to get it all working at optimum levels. I will admit that I was somewhat apprehensive that the complexity of the system, which includes the heat-reclaim equipment, would prove to be fraught from the beginning with many frustrating malfunctions. There were indeed numerous adjustments and several minor malfunctions, but the overall system worked! Kudos to the design engineers at Kohler and Lewis!
With the old building down and hauled away to the recyclers, work can begin on the final stage of the project, the parking lot and landscaping. And yes, we are in for a bit more inconvenience as the construction crews move through the site work, including a couple of days when the lot will be closed for installation of the pervious pavers at the entrance to the lot. The good news is that when that task is complete, the end will only be days away.
The community of the Brattleboro Food Co-op has experienced extraordinary ebbs and flows of heartbreak, happiness, disruption, and delight in the past year. During the landscaping work—and we will let you know when—there will be a memorial planting to help us remember the tragic event of a year ago. Let us celebrate our accomplishments as we work to grow in wisdom, respect, and appreciation for each other.