BLUE HILL — The Blue Hill Cooperative intends to break ground in September on its new, larger store slated for South Street next to Mainescape Garden Center.
“We plan to break ground after Labor Day with the goal of a soft opening in June 2019, followed by a grand opening in July 2019,” said General Manager Kevin Gadsby.
The co-op and its customers, who include members and nonmembers, year-round residents and seasonal visitors, have far outgrown the organic food store’s location on the Ellsworth Road on Greene’s Hill.
Nearly everyone has a horror story about trying to pull in or out of the tiny parking lot onto a busy Ellsworth Road.
The current store is 3,900 square feet, with 1,850 of that allocated for retail space. The new store, proposed at 11,988 square feet, will allow for quadruple the square feet of retail space — 7,014. The proposed parking lot is significantly larger as well.
The co-op has met with the Blue Hill Planning Board and is scheduled to appear before the board again on Monday, July 9.
Board Chairman Scott Miller said the board will determine if the application is complete, hold a public hearing to take citizen comments and may consider approving the project that night.
Miller said the board hasn’t identified any significant issues with the project.
The following week, Tuesday, July 17, is the co-op’s annual meeting. Members may see a final store layout at that meeting.
“We are currently fine-tuning our fixture and equipment plan and should have a final layout to present at our annual meeting July 17,” Gadsby said.
The manager said the support from the community and the co-op membership has been “amazing.”
“Co-op members have thus far contributed over $1.1 million toward our $2 million goal for the project,” Gadsby said.
The co-op also has selected E.L. Shea of Ellsworth as general contractor.
“After an interview process with three highly qualified construction companies from the area, the obvious choice for our co-op project was Shea,” Gadsby said.