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How do we build a store? How far along are we?

If you're reading this, you probably know how excited we are (and how excited we hope you are!) about our soon-to-be store at 2031 S. Juniper Street. We wanted to dive deeper and explain the key phases of our store building process -- and where we are in it.


We're grateful to our friends at Kensington Community Food Co-op for breaking down the journey to store opening for start-up food co-ops. Through it all, for us at the South Philly Food Co-op, we know we're in good hands with Watchdog, a premier Philadelphia firm who came on board pro bono to provide project management support.

So what do those phases involve?

Timeline to Opening

We brought on board to our project team Re:Vision, a mission-driven Philadelphia architecture firm, who is designing our store. Re:Vision has been hard at work as has completed our initial schematic designs. UNFI, a leader in natural and organic foods, brought grocery-store design expertise to collaborate on the store layout the equipment for the store. We are also getting early cost estimates on our designs to ensure we are staying within our budget.

Schematic Design Collage

This phase has a lot going on including applications for permits, construction contracting, and more! Right now, we are in the process of confirming who our general contractor will be. The general contractor will oversee the store fit-out process, working closely with our Board of Directors and Re:Vision to ensure we stay within our budget. Right now, our space is basically a vanilla shell. 

We need to put in shelves, walls, the front door set-up you see above, and more. The contractor will also bring on board the subcontractors with expertise in the mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and other systems. This is when we will finalize our construction contract and solidify our project budget. 

Also, during this phase, our Board of Directors will select a General Manager to oversee operations at the store. Our hiring process is moving along as planned. It has been energizing to meet so many qualified candidates who align to our mission!

This phase signifies that we are about to jump into the construction process -- and it's a time to celebrate! Be on the lookout for a big event in the fall.  

This is go-time for our general contractor and their team. Renovating our space on S. Juniper Street will take about 4-6 months. During this time, you'll notice some changes on the exterior of the building, though most work will go towards fitting out the interior space from floor to ceiling and installing equipment. During this phase, our General Manager will also be hard at work on store planning, testing products and selecting vendors, hiring staff, and training them on operations.

At last, the moment we've all been waiting for! We'll celebrate more here, too -- because who can resist a good ribbon cutting?

Wow, that's a big project. How can I help?

Participate in our capital campaign! We are raising $1 million to bring our store to life. We're over a third of the way there. Can you take us further?

Peruse our website to learn more about how you can help, or drop us a line -- we'd love to hear from you!