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Co-op shows off remodeled facility

Tour guides say new fixtures allow for larger space, more variety in their organically-grown products

Max+Newland%2C+education+and+events+coordinator%2C+gives+a+tour+of+the+newly+renovated+store+Thursday+at+the+Moscow+Food+Co-op.
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Co-op shows off remodeled facility

Max Newland, education and events coordinator, gives a tour of the newly renovated store Thursday at the Moscow Food Co-op.

Max Newland, education and events coordinator, gives a tour of the newly renovated store Thursday at the Moscow Food Co-op.

JACQUI THOMASSON | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

Max Newland, education and events coordinator, gives a tour of the newly renovated store Thursday at the Moscow Food Co-op.

JACQUI THOMASSON | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

JACQUI THOMASSON | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

Max Newland, education and events coordinator, gives a tour of the newly renovated store Thursday at the Moscow Food Co-op.

KEVIN DIEMERT, Evergreen reporter

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The Moscow Food Co-op recently had a cosmetic makeover and hosted a store tour and tasting session Thursday to show off its newest fixtures.

Max Newland, education and events coordinator, and Director of Infrastructure Joe Gilmore were on hand to guide people through the remodeling process. Evolution Designs commissioned fixtures for the newly remodeled produce aisles.

“We replaced all of the fruit and vegetable coolers,” Newland said.

The new fixtures allow for the produce to be displayed in a more spread-out and appealing manner, Newland said. The central display was custom-made and features storage underneath to accommodate produce not requiring refrigeration. This innovation has freed up space in the back stock and created a less cluttered workspace for co-op staff.

The bulk area also saw a redesign. Grains, coffee and tea can be found there, as well as honey, maple syrup, olive oil and soy sauce on tap. Shoppers can also grab organic peanut, almond and now cashew butter, ready to be ground into a container. New to the area is a heated unit for the honey and maple syrup selection. Newland said this allows for ease in storage and less stress over solidifying and clogging.

“We added a heater to it,” Newland said. “Previously it was very nearly impossible to get it out. It may seem a little wild, but because of the heated element the clogs are far less common, the stream is more consistent and it’s easier to access.”

Gilmore introduced the newly relocated frozen foods section. He said that while getting new freezer units is not much cause for excitement, the previous freezers were manufactured in 1991.

Gilmore said the older units were not effective, with certain sections sometimes thawing due to poor ventilation. The remodel team assessed the frozen sales of other co-ops and made the decision to toss the old, relocate and bring in new units.

“We decided, they weren’t very pretty, let’s get them out of here,” Gilmore said.

The frozen foods section is now located in the center of the store to the left of the bulk section, Gilmore said. It features eco-friendly motion sensors that turn on the display lights only when someone is in the aisle, which will save on electricity for the store.

The freezer units now keep frozen foods at a more consistent temperature and the store added a specific unit for ice cream that keeps the dessert at a colder temperature than the rest of the frozen section. Gilmore said this ensures it stays solid, even when it’s left the store and on the way to the home.

A refrigeration unit was added to house probiotics and health beverages in the wellness section, ensuring that all wellness products stay in the same aisle.

Another change is the addition of overhead section signs that sort areas in each aisle according to products found in the immediate area. Gilmore said this makes store navigation less stressful.

The co-op expanded and reorganized both the beer coolers and the wine selection. Wines are now navigated not by red, white and then place, but by region and country, Gilmore said. On the opposite side of the import wines are local wines brought in from Washington, Idaho, California and Oregon.

Gilmore said they also introduced a new refrigeration unit for the cheese selection which allows for three tiers of dairy both local and imported. The co-op purchased the unit from a co-op in North Dakota for $1,000.

“Before, we only had a three tier merchandiser with four shelves, and you really can only put so much on a shelf,” Gilmore said.

They relocated the grab-n-go cooler so it’s positioned adjacent to the deli counter, Newland said. Shoppers can now beeline from the entrance to the deli, the grab-n-go selection and straight to the registers.

“It used to be that if you wanted a drink with your lunch you’d come into the deli,” Newland said, “buy your food, trek to the back of the store and buy a drink, and then go all the back to front of the store to check out.”

The Moscow Food Co-op began in 1973 by friends Rod Davis, Jim Eagan and Dave and Katie Mosel and has served the local community for more than 40 years. The co-op brings in fresh local produce, poultry and dairy, as well as local and organically sourced goods for the pantry and home. The remodel of the co-op was designed to make the store more efficient.

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Co-op shows off remodeled facility