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Retail Update: Let's Build It

April 10, 2015 2 Comments

Construction at the shop. Door was moved about 5 feet to give us more room for food prep / tasting bar.

A few weeks ago we posted an update on the progress of our retail shop. So much has happened since then! Whereas last update we were in planning mode, working out the conceptual pillars of the experience and layout, we are now in build mode. Things are getting DONE, and done fast.

The Gist

Approvals, Negotiations, Initial Permitting and Bids: Completed

Funding: Completed!

Moving the Fire Door: Completed

Plumbing and Electrical Infrastructure: Completed

Wall repair: In Progress

Tile Installation and Paint: Pending Wall Repair

Counter and Shelving Construction: Delayed

Funding Update

You all knocked it out of the park. The contributions from the community which totaled $20,150 became a $40,300 loan to us. We thought the max loan we could receive through this program was $36K, but when CSC saw how fast our project funded they extended the amount further. Unfortunately (and understandably) there was a lot of confusion about how this matching programmed worked, but hopefully it makes sense to everyone now.

Thank you again, from the whole team. Now let’s put that capital to good use and build something cool!

What We’re Thinking About Now


In the evenings after the kitchen closes Aaron and I walk the three blocks to the new retail store. So much happens every day there’s always something new and awesome to see: unidentifiable tools about the room, giant holes in the wall, plastic wrap on all the conduits, holes in the floor. In this regard it’s very strange for us to work with a general contractor. Since the founding of this business in 2006 everything has been entirely on our team’s shoulders to complete. It was inconceivable to pay someone else to manage a project and paint the walls! But we have the budget this time, we have a lot of trust in our general contractor, and it’s getting done right.

Impressive set of construction tools. Is that considered a tool box or a mobile tool shed?

Holes drilled into the floor to access the buildings water supply to install the scullery.

Almost all of the infrastructure changes are complete. Plumbing is connected, electrical outlets are installed, and the fire door is moved to make room for the tasting bar. Now we are on to repair and finishing touches, and case work (counters and shelving).

Cabinetry and Fabrication

This has been tricky. Due to many circumstances out of anyone’s control, the person we had on deck to tackle this project isn’t able to. So last week we began our search again. The casework will likely be the bottleneck to opening our doors.

Fortunately enough, we found both a fabricator and a builder. Both come with references and good prices. We are moving forward again, and feeling relieved.

13' tasting bar top with some open shelving in the back.

Sales counter top with 5' drop-in refrigerator display cutout.

Above are the rough plans I put together just to start the conversation with the builder. If you are a professional, these will look like they were drawn by a five-year-old. *chuckle* We’re planning two large counter tops, one for tasting and the other for chocolate display and finalizing sales. The tasting bar is our baby, though. After working with the kind folks at Olson & Kundig to help us select materials, we eventually settled on steel plate. Steel is cold to the touch and a raw, sturdy material, and it looks stunning. It does come with a commitment to maintenance.
Free Art Wall

Example of a free art wall set up in Chicago.

The west wall is where we can be really creative. Our plan is to construct a large scale “visual project”. We have a huge canvas (metaphorically), an opportunity to do something different and cool, take a risk.

Ultimately we want this wall to be a forum where you can talk to us and to each other by sharing the experiences you have in the neighborhood and at the shop through a visual medium. So we are going to build a free art wall, with the theme being “Pioneer Square Stories”.

The idea comes from a Kickstarter project from 2012. This project was well funded but ran into fulfillment issues, so I sadly never saw the blocks from my pledge. These fellows eventually went on to start the company Shinerphoto.  They sell these blocks, but we’ll be making our own. We feel ok mimicking the altruistic idea of the free art wall for the shop because it's about celebrating art and community, it will require a lot of donated time on our part, and it will be non-profit. This video from the original kickstarter project explains the idea best:


We want you to share photos of your experiences at the shop or in Pioneer Square with us through social media. Then we’ll select a few that will go up on the wall. If you visit the shop, you’ll be invited to take one of the blocks for free if the image speaks to you, and we’ll replace it with a fresh and different photo block. If you can, you’re encouraged to donate the cost of the block (we think roughly $3 or $4), or more which will support the wall. Any extra at the end of the month will go to our partner and local non-profit homeless youth day art program called Sanctuary Art Center.

Goal Open Doors Date

All of this has to wrap up before the doors open. We’re aiming for the early side of May, but that might be optimistic with the counter tops just now being put together. We we have our fingers crossed. Can’t wait for you all to see it!

2 Responses

Rocket Hulsey
Rocket Hulsey

April 29, 2015

This project is fantastic!

Mary Beth
Mary Beth

April 10, 2015

Looking forward to seeing the final result! Art wall is a great idea

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