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Town & Country presents remodel plans to islanders
Last week, the Town & Country Market announced plans for a major remodel of its historic Winslow grocery store. This week, islanders weighed in.
And it was nearly a lovefest for Winslow Way’s commercial anchor. The community response was overwhelmingly positive at a public unveiling of the project Monday evening at Waterfront Park Community Center.
Town & Country officials presented preliminary sketches of the makeover and explained their hopes for the remodel.
“Our goal is to hold on to the tradition we’ve had, but take T&C into the future,” said Susan Allen, the project’s coordinator and a Town & County board member. “Because we plan on being around for a while.”
Public comments were largely of gratitude for keeping the grocery in its historic location on Winslow Way, rather than pursuing a cheaper option of building a new market on the outskirts of Winslow near the Ace Hardware on High School Road, a move the grocery company had considered.
The one chief concern was safety for pedestrians. The parking lot for the downtown market can sometimes be a gauntlet for walkers and drivers navigating through the lot.
Officials said that the remodel takes into account an increased pedestrian presence while also expanding parking; a total of 147 parking spaces will be available after the remodel. The makeover also plans to link foot traffic from Winslow Way to Waterfront Park.
Other comments at the meeting included a suggestion that the market install solar panels and make accommodations for seniors who use electric carts to get around town.
Islanders were offered a first peek at plans for the interior of the store Monday. Officials said the new layout was designed to better serve the shopping patterns of customers.
“(The entrance) on the west side of the store tends to be folks who come to stock up and have an entire shopping flow,” said Bill Weymer, CEO of Town & Country Markets.
“Then there are others who come in at night and want prepared foods,” he said. “They will have convenient access to those foods. All the food service is moving to the north side of the building.”
A new entrance at the northeastern corner of the grocery will lead into a prepared foods area complete coffee, sandwiches, sushi, beverages and the store’s line-up of soups and salads.
Near the northeastern entrance will be a check-out stand, while the northwestern corner will be converted into a seating area with views onto Winslow Way. Above the seating area will be a rebuilt second-floor mezzanine.
The seating area will be the project’s largest expansion and the most considerable contribution to the newly added 7,000 square feet of space.
The grocery aisles will be pushed to the center of the store, with aisles for beer and wine, and meats and cheeses moved to the north. Produce, bulk foods, seafood and meat will be found at the south and rear ends of the market. Dairy products will remain in their current location.
The grocery aisles will be shifted to where the checkout stands are now, and the stands will be moved to the middle of the western wall.
The western entrance off the parking lot will be rebuilt and lead into the checkout and produce areas.
Employees will be able to complete their behind-the-scenes work in new services areas that will stretch along the south and east sides of the building.
The most dramatic change to the store will be the elimination of the lower floor. That space will be converted into staff and office space.
To accomplish the rearrangement, part of the south end of the building will be pushed out by 24 feet. A southeastern portion of the building will also be expanded by 50 feet.