Until the coolers, freezers, and checkout counters started arriving, Robert Lee couldn’t quite picture the final version of his family’s new Fort Langley grocery store.
Now that all that equipment is being hauled into the building on Mavis Avenue, he can imagine everything up and running. And fairly soon.
“This is the time when we get excited, and also stressed,” Lee said this week.
Along with Andrew Abreo, the manager of the new Lee’s Market, he was on site Wednesday helping haul in equipment on a hand truck.
The exact date of opening can’t be released, because the team isn’t certain yet. But it will be late November, Lee said.
“A lot of anticipation has built up over the last two years,” Abreo said.
It was almost two years ago that the Fort Langley IGA burned to the ground, the fire caused by a failed attempt to break into the store. The would-be burglar was never caught.
The fire left the Fort without a full grocery store, but the Lee family decided to rebuild, and to go on their own without being part of a franchise.
The new, considerably larger grocery store will have an expanded deli with indoor and outdoor seating. The store has been moved back away from Glover Road itself, and won’t occupy the corner of Glover and Mavis as the old store did.
Lee said he wanted to go green as much as possible. Some of the coolers and freezers are gently used, rather than new ones. Lighting includes a lot of energy-efficient LEDs, and beams in the deli come from a sustainable forest project in Maple Ridge.
For the contents of the fridges and shelves, Lee and Abreo want to stay close to home.
“One word: local,” said Abreo.
“We want to carry local pork, local beef, local chicken,” Lee said.
There are a lot of good local suppliers for food, and the store will tap into that, said Lee.
“We’re trying to make it a really community oriented store,” said Lee.
The new store will be larger than the old one physically, and will likely employ a few more people. Abreo said they will probably hire about 30 full and part time employees, compared to the low 20s for the old store.
The Fort itself has changed since the old IGA burned down, with more residents moving into condos in the Bedford Landing development, and the closure of Frontier Hardware on Glover Road.
Now the site of the old IGA and Frontier Hardware is the proposed location of a new three-storey building that has fired up controversy among Fort residents.