Willie's to be remodeled
A remodeling project at Willie's Supervalu in Morris starts Monday, March 26, said Paul Martin and his son Max of the family-owned grocery store.
"It will look like a brand-new store when we get it done. It will be awesome," Max Martin said.
This is the first significant overall upgrade to the store since it opened in 1999. "This has served us well but just like a house, after 19 years, you need a (change)," Paul Martin said.
The store's existing color scheme will be replaced with a more rustic prairie look that reflects the store's place in rural Minnesota, Paul Martin said.
The flooring and signs for different departments such as produce and others will have a distressed barnwood look. The dairy area will incorporate a shiplap wood look, Max Martin said. Shiplap is a popular design feature that resembles wood used for barn, shed, and ship exteriors.
Corrugated metal will be used in the awnings for areas such as the deli.
"It will have the feel of the prairie and farming, where we are at," Paul Martin said.
They checked out several new and renovated grocery stores to get remodeling ideas, Max Martin said.
The renovation includes new vinyl floor tiling that will replace the composite tiling. "The new tile will stand up a lot better to traffic," Max Martin said. It will also be more environmentally friendly as they won't need to be waxed as much as the existing floor.
The design calls for different shades of vinyl flooring colors in various areas of the store.
The Martins will also replace coolers in the store. The open dairy coolers will be replaced with coolers that have doors.
The doors will keep cool air inside the dairy case. Cooler fans will use less energy because they are recirculating cooler air, Max Martin said. The open cooler cases allow cool air to drift from the cooler and into the store.
The estimated annual savings from the new coolers with doors is 80 percent, Max Martin said.
New coolers will also improve how items are presented and how customers can see those items, Max Martin said.
The store's lights will be replaced with LED lights. The new lights will be more efficient and save energy, Max Martin said.
"We upgraded lighting on the sales floor two years ago," Max Martin said. With the remodel, all lights will be LED lights. "It will make the products more visible on the shelves," he said.
A Caribou Coffee Shop will be added to the deli area. The Caribou will be placed where the rotisserie chicken equipment and some ready made sandwiches are now. Those items will be moved to another area of the deli.
Max Martin said Willie's is excited to offer customers the Caribouxxx option.
There will be one change Willie's will not make. "We are not tearing up the grocery shelves," Paul Martin said.
The grocery aisle structure will remain as it is now, but there will be a different look in the signs. The Martins will use old Morris street signs to identify grocery aisles. Those signs along with other new product signs will also incorporate the new color scheme and new overall look.
Willie's will also keep some of the old photographs from Morris that hang in the grocery and deli area, Max Martin said. Customers like the photographs, he said. "People over time have said 'Hey that's me in the picture,'" Max Martin said.
The remodeling project is expected be completed by Memorial Day.
"We want to apologize (in advance) for any inconvenience for customers," Paul Martin said. Staff will be available if customers need help finding an item or if a particular item is out of reach during the remodeling, he said.
Max Martin said the construction will happen in phases with the floor installed after coolers are replaced and painting is done.