Near the roundabout on Lyme Road—on a patch of real estate that anchors Dresden Village in Hanover, New Hampshire—a well-oiled green machine has been rising from the ground, taking physical and operational shape over the past eight months.
It’s a food store that is unique, new, and beautiful—one that serves as a template in green design. If you have been following the reports from Co-op General Manager Terry Appleby over the past summer and fall, you know it is the result of a lot of hard work designed to create a store that would complement two similar, but larger, food stores and serve as a gathering place for the local community.
Welcome to the new Co-op Community Market, now very much open for business.
“Anyone who knows me knows I’m picky and particular,” jokes Penny Ashey, a long-time Co-op employee who works as Cashier Supervisor for the new market. “Even being picky, I couldn’t find anything that I didn’t absolutely love as it was being built. It’s wonderful, both for customers and for staff.”
Of course, any change is apt to engender its own share of controversy, and the new market has been no exception. The decision to remove gasoline pumps, for example, led some members to speak passionately about the subject at the Co-op Annual Meeting last spring. In addition, the market’s planners, builders, and architects had to deal with their share of unforeseen challenges that can affect any project of such magnitude.
But the Co-op is a democratic ship that weathered all the storms, big and small. And just a few weeks ago the market opened its brand-new doors to great fanfare and praise from members, customers, and staff alike.
Though the market stands out for many reasons, there are two primary features that make it particularly unique.
First is the beautiful building itself, which also features an environmentally friendly design. From the initial planning stages, the Co-op worked with UK Architects of Hanover to construct a building that would be cutting-edge in terms of green features. These features include an energy-efficient floorplan, plenty of external light and heat through a strategic and sophisticated window and skylight system, and automatic electric lighting that brightens and dims based on the need and external conditions. In addition, the hallmark of the building’s green design is its geothermal well, which taps the earth’s own resources to provide energy for heating, electricity, air conditioning, and refrigeration.
The second feature is the extended product line. Rather than being a convenience store, the market is a small version of the Co-op’s large food stores in Lebanon and Hanover, with a wide variety of products available from each of the Co-op’s departments. Customers can find natural and specialty foods, health and beauty aids, meat and seafood, cheese and wine, and even a small bulk section. There is also a pleasant seating area for patrons who wish to sit and enjoy it all.
“You feel like you’re in one of our other stores,” Ashey says, “only more compact.”
The compact idea is one that is catching on. Like homes and cars, many grocery stores have begun to grow smaller rather than larger—which bucks the trend of ever-expanding warehouse food stores that pervaded the 1990s. Statistics released from the Food Marketing Institute last year indicate that the average size of new grocery stores dropped slightly in 2007 after more than 20 years of ongoing and steady growth. The Co-op’s new Community Market expands on that philosophy with not only a smaller store, but one that packs an energy-efficient wallop into its more compact construction.
“We’ve put a lot of thought and effort into this,” says Tony White, Co-op Director of Operations. “Anyone could build a new store. We wanted to build a new Co-op store. That’s a big responsibility and one that involves a lot of forethought. We believe the results have been worth it.”
The Co-op Community Market is located on 43 Lyme Road in Hanover, New Hampshire. Kick the tires on it a little, and tell us what you think! Just send us an email or give us a call at 603-643-2667. We want to hear from you! Want to sign up for the email version of the Co-op News? Join our list!