Location Information

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In May 2015, we announced our store location at 921 E. Washington St., Bloomington, in the empty lot next to the Beer Nuts factory.

Click the images below for full-screen views.

floorplan-main floor

Preliminary fixture plan for the main floor

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Layout of the mezzanine space

Do you have any questions about something other than our location?

Check the general FAQs page for more.


 

Design and Construction Team

 

Nicole Klimekphoto of Nicole Klimek

Nicole Klimek started working with co-ops about 10 years ago doing store planning, design and interior design. She has a background in community development, interior design and business marketing. Using these skills Nicole has helped over 70 food co-ops with store planning, green practices and design, LEED certification and efficient store operations.

Nicole is also an accredited interior designer and helps co-ops create a cohesive brand and décor scheme to help the store convey the message they need to represent themselves in their community.

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Catalyst Construction logo

Catalyst Construction

Mike Carithers and Andy Kaufman established Catalyst Construction to bring a level of stewardship excellence to projects. Their strength is in mid-sized projects such as Green Top Grocery, and they work extensively with business, healthcare and ministry clientele. Many of Catalyst’s team were already GTG owners, and the board was impressed with their commitment to delivering a successful, on-time, on-budget project. As the construction managers for the Green Top project, they are tasked with managing the bid process and keeping everything running smoothly from start to finish.

Recent projects include: Nussbaum Transportation, Leroy Fire District new facilities, Kemp’s Tap & Public Hall’s new restaurant, Heritage Enterprises’ Evergreen Place renovations in Normal, Cornerstone Christian Academy interior build-out, and many projects for Advocate BroMenn facilities in and around Bloomington-Normal.

GTG Site Selection Process

  • Why did you select this location?

    The site at 921 E. Washington St., Bloomington, was chosen because it meets all of the criteria important to our owners. It’s walkable, bikeable, near the trail, on bus routes, has parking accessibility and provides access to fresh healthy food to an underserved area of our community. This location allows us to bring access to fresh, local healthy food to a USDA certified food desert.
  • How did you select this location?

    Our first step was to gather input from owners. We hosted in person informational sessions to get feedback from our owners and conducted online surveys regarding the location. We then looked at locations based on the feedback we received from our owners and narrowed our selection down to two sites. From there, we evaluated the sales potential, financing, community support and grant opportunities available at each location and determined that the Bloomington location allowed for unique access to grants and other funding mechanisms not available at the Normal location.
  • Who made the final decision on the store location?

    The Board of Directors made the final decision taking into consideration input from owners.
  • Why did you select Bloomington over Normal?

    When we evaluated potential locations,  it was never a matter of Bloomington vs. Normal. We selected a location based on the results of our owner survey combined with the financial opportunities available at each location. This location was selected because it met the criteria important to our owners, is centrally located in an area that can easily serve both communities and is financially viable.
  • How many locations did you look at?

    The Board of Directors looked at several locations over a 11 month time frame, but ultimately it came down to what owner’s wanted, cost, financing and feasibility.
  • What about the Uptown Parking Garage location?! Wouldn’t that be better?

    We believe that we’ve selected a location that will serve both communities well. While there were a good number of potential locations available, including the Uptown Parking Garage, we took into consideration the results of our feasibility studies and consulted financial experts in the cooperative industry to help us make this decision. Our location allows us financial success while at the same time providing access to an underserved market.
  • How long did this decision take to make?

    We started looking for a location in June 2014 when we reached 500 owners.
  • Did you hire any outside firms to help make this decision?

    Multiple feasibility studies were conducted by Debbie Suassuna of G2G Research Group, a research group focused on location analysis. Debbie provided an initial feasibility study of our community in the early stages of the project and then did a more detailed analysis on specific sites as we identified potential real estate options. In addition, we worked with Cooperative Development Services to insure our financial projections were sound and well founded.
  • How much of a financial incentive did you receive to choose this location?

    Both locations offered unique advantages, however the Bloomington location put us in a position to pursue funding opportunities that weren’t available to us at the Normal location. As such, the Bloomington location became much more financially viable and in the end we believe is the best location for our first store.
  • Was this location your first choice?

    This location is the best choice primarily because it takes into consideration all the factors that are important to our owners and provides us with a financially sound business plan.
  • When do you anticipate the store opening?

    We anticipate the store will open 12-18 months from now. However, it’s important to keep in mind that this timeline is contingent on our financing and a seamless construction process.

I’m an Owner

  • How did owners get to assist in selecting the location?

    Owners were encouraged to complete online surveys, attend in-person meetings and provide feedback at information sessions. A majority of our owners told us they wanted a store that was accessible by multiple means of transportation (walking, biking & public transportation) and had ample parking. They also told us they were in favor of collaboration as long as it didn’t limit our decision making and they liked the idea of a store that didn’t require excessive debt. This location fits all of these criteria.
  • How did you spend my $200 ownership?

    Ownership is a $200 commitment and we have utilized owner equity ethically, frugally and are committed to spending owner equity only when absolutely necessary.  As an owner, you have the right to know how your money is being spent and can contact us with specific questions.
  • What if I have feedback about this location?

    We’d love to hear feedback from our owners. Please email your feedback to info@greentopgrocery.com.

Next Steps & Site Specifics

  • What is Green Top Grocery’s next step now that you've selected a location?

    We have a chosen a site for our store, but it’s important to understand that this site will only become a reality when our finances are in line. We completed Phase 1 of our Owner Loan Campaign on October 2, raising a record-breaking $900,000. Our Finance Committee continues to be hard at work securing more traditional financing (grants & bank loans). In addition, our Selection Committee has been conducting a national search for our General Manager, and we are currently interviewing final candidates, which is very exciting. Right now, our owner drive is pushing towards 1200 owners by the end of January — we are asking every owner to bring in one additional owner, which will easily get us to this goal! Then, we’ll launch our Phase 2 Owner Loan Campaign to raise the remaining $600,000. When that is accomplished, we can sign the final lease, bank loan, and THEN we can break ground! 
  • How much will the project cost to complete?

    The total project will cost Green Top Grocery approximately $3.6 million. This includes the cost of build out, equipment, inventory and staff.
  • What’s the square footage?

    Green Top Grocery will be 10,000 square feet, with approximately 7,000 square feet of retail space.
  • Will there be parking available?

    Yes, there will be ample parking including a minimum of 60 off street parking spaces, which meets the requirements suggested by co-op experts in this field.
  • Is this location accessible to all modes of transportation including walking, biking and public transit?

    Yes, the location has access to the trail, will have bike racks, is near bus routes and has ample parking. Both the Purple and Orange bus lines pass this location three times per hour.
  • Are there other tenants in this development?

    The developer of this site is best equipped to answer questions about other tenants. We will say that we are very excited about the partnership between Green Top Grocery and the Foundry and look forward to the retail synergy created in this location. Andy Shirk can be contacted at ashirk@beernuts.com to comment on behalf of Beer Nuts. For specifics on the development of this site contact Kyle Glandon from Workbench.  (kyle@workbenchco.com)
  • When will construction begin?

    We anticipate that the groundbreaking will take place after financing has been secured-likely this fall.
  • What architectural firm will be working on the building?

    The process of building a building and then ‘building it out’ to suit the needs of a grocery co-op are quite involved and will take some time and preparation. We plan to work with experts in the field and will determine our architect and building contractors as final plans develop.
  • How are you selecting contractors for the construction? Who will be doing construction work?

    The actual construction of the building located at 921 Washington Street will be handled by the site developer. Catalyst Construction will be handling the bid process and inquiries can be directed to them at 309-808-2691.
  • How long do you anticipate construction will last?

    We anticipate construction could take up to 12 months.
  • Will you be posting updates about the construction?

    Yes, to stay up to date on how the project is progressing, like our Facebook page: facebook.com/BNCoopGrocery
  • Once the construction is complete, when will I get to shop there?

    As soon as construction is complete Green Top Grocery will train our staff and stock the store as quickly as possible in an effort to get the doors open within the 12-18 month time frame we’ve allotted.

Getting Involved

  • Can I help out?

    Absolutely! We are always looking for hard working, organized individuals to help us make Green Top Grocery a reality in our community. We have volunteer opportunities at events, committees and through our board of directors. Learn more on our Volunteer page.
  • Can I volunteer at the store once it’s open?

    Green Top will focus on staffing our store with highly trained, well paid individuals who can answer all of your questions. Because providing good jobs is important to us, we will not be utilizing volunteers in the store. Volunteer opportunities will exist on committees and board work after the store is open, but volunteers will not be utilized to staff the store. To volunteer on a committee or learn more about our board of directors roles click here.
  • Can I become an owner now?

    Yes, we are always accepting ownership applications, to become an owner, click here.
  • Can I become a board member?

    Yes. In order to be considered for the board you have to be an owner in good standing for 3 months. Typically elections are in May, although we have had openings occur mid-year (due to relocations of board members). To learn more about the responsibilities of a board member, please click here.
  • Can I vote the next time an important decision is made?

    To vote in an election, you must be a Green Top Grocery owner. Elections take place at the annual meeting in May of each year. To become a Green Top owner click here.
  • How can I sign up for the newsletters?

    Yes, you can sign up here.

Community

  • How is GTG different than other grocery stores in our community?

    We are lucky to have numerous, high quality grocery stores in our community. A Co-op is different from the other stores in our community and we could go on for hours about the differences, instead we’ll focus on two main ways GTG is different from conventional store and you can learn more about GTG and the Co-op movement at greentopgrocery.com. First of all, a co-op is locally owned by YOU. Community members own shares in Green Top Grocery which allows owners to make decisions on behalf of the co-op. I’m not sure about you, but no one at a local grocery store has ever asked me what kind of products I want them to carry or where they should open their next store. Owners get a VOTE. Secondly, our goal will be to stock local items. We live in the most fertile soil in the country, yet most of our food is shipped in from thousands of miles away. Green Top will source locally whenever we can–that means you’ll be able to find hundreds of local products including produce, meat, dairy, honey and even baked goods at Green Top!
  • How will GTG's location assist the local economy?

    Co-ops are a critical part of local neighborhoods and economies because they are owned by community members who care about where they live. Co-ops are a community resource, a place where people gather, learn and grow. Co-ops on average donate more to the local community (13% nationally) compared to conventional grocery stores (who donate on average 4%). A co-op on average purchases from over 100 local farmers and producers and for every $1,000 spent at a co-op $1,600 is generated in the local economy.
  • How will this affect other local grocery stores?

    Green Top Grocery believes that the rising tide raises all ships. Our feasibility study indicates that the demand for fresh, local organic products far exceeds the current supply in our community. In addition, we have seen a steady (double digit growth) in demand for organic products over the last 10 years. Our belief is that all local vendors will continue to benefit from the increased demand for these types of products.
  • What’s a food desert?

    Green Top Grocery’s location is located in a food desert. A food desert is defined by the USDA in simplified terms as a low income census tract that has low access to a healthy food retail outlet which is further defined as more than 1 mile from a supermarket or large grocery store.

    More information about Food Deserts can be found on the USDA website.

  • How does this location help give people access to local, healthy, affordable food?

    Our location will provide access to healthy, local food to a population that currently does not have a large grocery store or supermarket within one mile. Throughout the development of Green Top Grocery, providing access to healthy food has been of paramount importance. We are hopeful that through our store location we can not only be an access point to healthy food but also a community space were community members can learn more about the food that comes from the rich soil right out our back doors.

Producers/Farmers

  • What if I'm a local farmer or producer, can I sell my products at Green Top Grocery?

    Green Top Grocery is currently keeping a list of potential vendors/suppliers. If you are interested in being included on that list, please contact Katie Novak (katie@greentopgrocery.com). Once a General Manager has been hired, this list will be turned over to the GM who will initiate an application process which will likely include a farm/facility inspection. The GM will make the final determination on what products are offered in the store.
  • Who will be selling their food at the store?

    Green Top Grocery is collecting a list of local vendors who will be providing food to the store. If you’d like to be included on this list, please contact Katie Novak at katie@greentopgrocery.com.

I’m not YET an Owner

  • What kind of benefits will I have if I become an owner now?

    Owners now will have an impact on more of the logistical aspects of the store. For example, moving forward owners will have the opportunity to provide feedback on the kind of shopping benefits owners will receive, the kind of products we stock in the store including what our definition of ‘local’ is, as well as the kind of labeling provided in the store. In addition, other co-ops reciprocate ownership–meaning if you are an owner at Green Top Grocery, your ownership will be honored at other co-ops including the closest co-op to us: Common Ground Food Co-op in Urbana.
  • If I'm not yet an owner can I become an owner now?

    Yes, we are always accepting ownership applications and we’d LOVE to have you! Click here to become an owner.