Those awaiting the Common Market Co-Op’s second location on West Seventh Street will have to wait a bit longer than anticipated. The store most likely won’t be opening until late summer, said general manager Bob Thompson and chief financial officer Sarah Lebherz.
Originally, the second location was supposed to open in January 2020, but the estimated opening date was then postponed until spring.
Thompson said permitting and construction have taken longer than the co-op originally accounted for. However, the permitting is now all finished and construction is well underway.
“Our current construction timeline puts us through finishing the majority of the work in maybe July ... but then we still have some of our own work to do once the construction is finished,” Lebherz said. “So we don’t have an exact date targeted.”
Thompson said they are hoping for a late summer opening, either in late August or early September.
The building was a Safeway from 1987 to May 2018, when the grocery store closed. There had been no other tenants until Common Market purchased the building in March 2019.
Lebherz said that a decent amount of work needed to be done on the building to convert it into a Common Market, most notably the plumbing. New code requirements forced the Common Market to redo most of the plumbing in the building.
“We had initially anticipated that we might be able to utilize more of the infrastructure for plumbing,” Lebherz said. “We’re finding that we’re having to redo a fair amount of it.”
Several aspects of the Safeway have been preserved, however, including some of the wall structures and the equipment in the bakery, such as sinks and proofing cabinets.
At 25,000 square feet, the Seventh Street location will be 2½ times larger than the first location on Buckeystown Pike.
The second store will have all of the offerings of the first location, in addition to more cafe items and a bakery. It will also have a pet section with pet food and other products.
The project was partially funded by the co-op owners, who contributed $1.5 million in C-shares, which are unique forms of stock that allow customers to invest and get a potential return in the form of a dividend. C-shares are available only to owners who are residents of Maryland.
“We’re just really excited to open up just as much as we hear from all of our customers, existing ones and new ones who are excited for us to be in that area, and we just can’t wait to open and be in the community,” Lebherz said.