Ucluelet Co-op general manager Laurie Gehrke points to the friendly reminder that her shop is under construction. (Nora O’Malley photo)

Major renovations underway at Ucluelet Co-op

“People are going to be really pleased with what they see.”

Over $3 million in renovations are underway at the Ucluelet Co-op.

Construction started on Jan. 5 with the hardware section and the entire project is slated to be complete by May 12, 2020.

“We have a very, very short time frame to complete an awful lot of work,” said general manager Laurie Gehrke. “It’s going be a very busy, intense schedule. You’ll notice there are going to be guys wandering in and out at all hours while we are doing the construction work.”

Renovation plans include rolling in new shelving and flooring throughout the store, plus the installation of a new pharmacy, new public washrooms, and upgrades to the deli.

Ucluelet Co-op chair Gordon Dunsmore said the improvements will bring the store into the 21st century and keep the Co-op current and relevant for the next 10 years.

“Thanks for understanding as we update the store. It’s going to be a rough go, but the end result will make the pain more bearable. Discomfort for comfort,” said Dunsmore.

After the new shelving and flooring of the hardware section are complete, construction workers will move to the grocery section then on to the building of the outer perimeter offices, staff room, and new public washrooms.

“Then we complete the build of the new pharmacy and the last stage will be moving to the deli area and meat department and upgrading their equipment and making our refrigeration much more efficient,” said Gehrke.

As part of the renovations, all of the dairy coolers will be completely closed in with doors to help conserve energy and preserve the cold.

“In the event of a power failure, we’ll have a longer cool period. We’re protecting the customers as well as the product. We’re helping to save money and we’re putting less stress on our compressors in the back,” Gehrke notes.

In addition, all the lighting in the store will be changed to LED lights to save energy.

“People are going to be really pleased with what they see,” she said.

Unsafe shelving and old equipment were listed as some of the reasons for the major upgrades.

Dunsmore thanked everyone in advance for their patience with the build.

“The new and improved Ucluelet Co-op will be the jewel of the West Coast,” he said.


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