Oh my goodness, it’s really happening. Like… really happening. Our new store, built into a gorgeous, 100-odd-year-old building at 108 Vine Avenue, is going to open in just 30 days.
We’ve been working on this move for five full years. To the month. As I’m sure you can imagine, it’s been a long ride, and there’s been more than a few times in the past few years where we’ve wondered if The Sweet Potato would ever make it to our beautiful new home.
But we’re not wondering that anymore. Over the last four months, stuff’s been getting really real and it’s all so exciting! We’ve never built a new store like this, and figure probably you haven’t either, and so we thought we’d try and give you a little backstage tour of what our construction this summer has been like.
Since things really stepped up in May, we’ve had 30 to 60 amazing folks piling into our beautiful space every day. The team we’ve hired has a superstar grocery track record – over the last thirteen years they’ve built about 15 Longo’s stores (check out our fave one at Imperial Plaza) – and though everyone told us construction would be the hardest part of this whole thing, it’s actually been a total dream.
To give you just a little taste, here are a few of our favourite backstage details:
So one of the things we learned in this massive renovation is that concrete is usually 6 to 12 inches deep. We had to drill down through it to be able to install proper plumbing for the fridges and freezers, and everyone was expecting a pretty breezy job. Turns out when you’re working with a stunning, old building, sometimes it’s a different story! The concrete was between one and six feet deep in some places, requiring a special super fancy concrete-basher – thank goodness for this awesome dude and his amazing power drill!
The unexpected thrilling part is that, now that the plumbing is all done, the floors of the new store are a mix of new, old, and really old beautiful polished concrete!
Did you know that old metal beams (like those on the original ceiling of our awesome new store) need to be seriously fireproofed? For a full week during construction, the inside of 108 Vine Ave. looked like a haunted house, with giant ghostly sheets of plastic draped over everything as the crew covered the beams with cementitious spray.
When they’re drying, the beams look like they’re caked with two inches of icing, but that spray does the super important job of ensuring that if there’s ever a fire, the beams won’t melt – which we’re all pretty pleased about!
This is one of our favourite hidden gems of the store – something you’ll never see, but we think is one of the coolest (pun intended) things about the new space. This bad-boy micromanages all of our fridges and freezers, recycling hot and cold water from the massive refrigeration system to help keep the store cool in the summer and comfy in the winter! How great is that?!
We love swanky gadgets, but what we love most about it is it’s space-aged energy efficiency, which is super important to us given our commitment to environmental stewardship. Check out this gigantic and mysterious machine:
So… when do we get to see the place?
Yeah, yeah, we know!
But for real, while it’s been super fun to show off a bit of the magic, behind-the-scenes work we’ve been doing to turn our new home into something that will do you all proud, what we really can’t wait to do is show you the finished product!
Come spin down the aisles (you’ll be able to pass your fellow shoppers will a fully loaded shopping cart, or stroller, we promise!) and celebrate with us when we open on September 21st, and at our community party on September 24th. We can’t wait to show you what we have in store!