Oct 17, 2007 Cazenovia Republican Uncategorized
Back on track
Expansion delays over for P&C supermarket in Caz
By Willie Kiernan
The Cazenovia P&C expansion has hit a few snags, but it is back on track with a new face in town.
“I think they brought me here for a reason,” said Kathy Conners, the new store manager.
Conners, who was transferred from Skaneateles has a background in construction and redesign as well as a wealth of experience in natural and organic foods.
“I’m a working manager,” she said, packing bags for a customer.
The expansion, which began back in May, is full steam ahead now and will eventually add 8,000 square feet to the store to compliment the new manager and a new focus on health and freshness. Customers will start to see changes in phases beginning with Thanksgiving, then Christmas. Barring any unforeseen problems or natural disasters, the entire project should be complete by the end of January. During this time, as a service to the community and to reward its valued and loyal customers, P&C will remain open its usual hours.
“The huge challenge with this whole thing is we stay open,” said Brian Kaler, director of construction and merchandising.
Big delays over the summer were due to unanticipated electrical needs and the coordination of different parties. With the addition of different d (c)cor, alternate lighting and added freezer space, the power service from the street would no longer do the job. With the changed requirements, an 800 amp service which attached to a pole was no longer adequate. They now required a 1,000 amp service which needed to be on the ground with a wall built around it. This had to be coordinated with the landlord and the power company was in no rush, so the project was delayed for more than a month.
“We’ve been working on this since May with preliminaries before that,” Kaler said. “And remember, we also have been working with the landlord, Dave Muraco who set out a huge personal investment.”
Giant boulders found in the ground behind the drugstore didn’t help matters either, but the walls and roof are in place on the east side of the building where most of the expansion will take place.
“A project of this magnitude takes at least 16 weeks,” Kaler said. “We’ve been working hard.”
The expansion will turn a 21,000 square foot store into a 29,000 square foot store. The P&C in Fayetteville, their grandest construction is about 60,000 square feet. However the Caz store will have a brand new design and will be the benchmark for future stores.
“We’ve been working on the d (c)cor for six months,” Kaler said. “This store will be one of a kind.”
The Grange League Federation, a farmer purchasing and marketing cooperative, found it difficult to market their products to the consumer at a satisfactory price. They owned flour mills, canneries and egg auctions, but felt there was one link in the chain to consumers that was not filled; retail stores.
A group of G.L.F associates, led by H.E. Babcock, founder of G.L.F., proposed a separate marketing corporation to achieve what he called across the board marketing. On Aug. 29, 1941, the first meeting of the Board of Directors of Cooperative P&C Markets, Inc., was held at Bibbens Hall, Ithaca, New York. The P and C in the name stood for Producers and Consumers to recognize the commitment to both of these groups.
Their idea became reality on Jan. 21, 1942, with the opening of a retail supermarket in Batavia, New York. At this time there were food stores, but few self-service supermarkets, and the opening was an exciting event. From that day P&C has grown and thrived, proving the associates beliefs well founded, and this year celebrates 65 years of serving the public by connecting producers and consumers.
The new manager
Kathy Conners started as a cashier and has worked for P&C for 25 years. Along the way, she took a part-time job at Nature Tyme in Dewitt, helping the owner with the design and set-up.
“While raising my three boys, I was a six to midnight cashier,” Conners said. “My husband would come home and I’d go to work.”
The new P&C, along with many other things, will feature an extensive variety of natural and organic foods. That is why Conners was brought here and she’s very excited about it.
“I came from Skaneateles and I see a lot of similarities like the small store, same type of clientele, small town atmosphere,” Conners said. “I love it here.”
Look for more P&C expansion news in next week’s Cazenovia Republican.