Construction Zone: New Cook County Whole Foods Co-op in the worksThe Cook County Whole Foods Co-op in Grand Marais has torn down its previous, aged building and is constructing a larger home on the same site.
By: Andrew Krueger, Duluth News Tribune
What: Cook County Whole Foods Co-op
Where: 20 E. First St., Grand Marais
Project: The co-op has torn down its previous, aged building and is constructing a larger home on the same site.
Purpose: The Cook County Whole Foods Co-op — it’s an independent entity, and not connected to the Duluth co-op — dates back to 1976. The member-owned community grocery store had spent the past decade in a building that dated back to the 1940s and previously served as a warehouse, bar, auto parts store and kayak outfitter, general manager Jennifer Stoltz said. The co-op had outgrown the space.
“We’ve seen double-digit sales growth in the last two, three years,” Stoltz said. “Especially in the summer; people would be lined up waiting to get in the store.”
The co-op decided to move to temporary quarters along Highway 61 on the west side of Grand Marais so they could tear down and build new on their existing site.
The new store will offer a larger selection of products, with expanded deli, meat and produce sections, Stoltz said.
Size: The new building will be about 7,000 square feet, about double the size of the previous structure.
Owner: The co-op has just over 1,600 member-owners; it’s open to the public
Work being done: A completely new building is being built, designed with an eye toward energy efficiency and using local and green materials.
Among the energy-saving measures is a system to capture heat generated by the refrigeration systems and use it to heat the building, said Arno Kahn, general manager of general contractor Builders Commonwealth of Duluth. That should cover about 75 percent of the building’s heating needs.
The building also is heavily insulated, has triple-glazed windows, features LED and compact fluorescent lighting, and will have solar tubes to provide natural lighting during the day.
Hedstrom Lumber of Grand Marais is providing lumber for the project.
Cost: $2.3 million.
General contractor: Builders Commonwealth
Architect: Hugh Reitan of Builders Commonwealth. Among other contributors, Jim Johnson and Terry Larson of Duluth’s Foster, Jacobs & Johnson worked on the building’s mechanical and electrical systems; Alan Vorderbruggen of LHB was structural engineer; and Jill Isola Johnson did the interior design.
Timeline: The co-op moved out of the old building and into its temporary quarters in November. The target completion date of the new building is mid- to late June.
Employees: The co-op has about 20 employees in summer; that may increase to 25 to 30 in the new building, Stoltz said.