Residents of Rimbey have probably noticed the shell of a new structure rising into the sky on the south side of the community, and if everything goes as scheduled, they’ll soon be able to shop for home improvement and building supplies in the Rimbey Co-op’s new drive-thru lumber warehouse.
“Well basically it’s part of the expansion that we’ve been planning for a little while where we’ve bought land behind us. This is the first stage, which is a drive-thru lumber warehouse and also, the saw bay will be in that building too,” said Home Centre Manager Terry Grieman. “This spring we’ll get it done and then basically after that, we have another kind of an open shed along the fence line on the north side, and maybe this fall we’ll start on that. The idea is eventually the front lumber yard disappears and becomes part of an expanded parking lot.”
Grieman said not only will shoppers see an expanded warehouse, but all their products will eventually be under one roof as opposed to the current situation which sees a number of small storage sheds on the property housing different items.
In addition to products currently housed in the Co-op’s warehouse – currently located on the north side of the Home Centre, the new facility will also include an expanded line of products as well as larger items such as windows, doors, drywall and insulation, to name a few.
“We’re going to get rid of all the little sheds outside and create a nice yard that’s easy to get around in. We’ll also be increasing our product line and with that, we can expand into some areas we couldn’t have before because of a lack of storage.” Grieman said. “More of that will come along once we do the inside sales floor too, but that’s a couple of years down the line.”
While the new warehouse will be a freestanding structure with a majority being cold storage space, it will also feature an expanded saw bay that will be heated. As for a timetable of the first phase of work, Grieman said it should be open to the public within a month or two.
“We’re hoping to have it completed by early spring. We have to wait now for the concrete floor to be put in and it should be up in hopefully a month and it should be closed-in with doors and finished off by the end of February,” he said. “Then we’ll finish the floor and start putting racks into it.”
Gireman added that a significant amount of yard work and landscaping is also necessary to level off the land and a number of the previously mentioned sheds will also be sold and removed from the property.
Coinciding with that work will be the next step in the overall project, which will see the construction of a new open-ended shed to house dimensional lumber on the northern edge of the property, and following that will be an expansion of the current Home Centre location and a number of other undertakings.
“After that is when we’ll start expanding the sales floor into the old lumber warehouse,” Grieman said. “The mall itself will get a facelift once we complete the expanded sales floor work. We’ll be changing the entrance to the Home Centre by centering it a bit more, but that’ll be a few years before that stage comes.”
He added the expanded Home Centre will eventually also feature a permanent greenhouse attached to the front of the building and with the removal of the current outdoor lumber storage facility on the lot’s northwest corner, an expansion to the parking lot.
As with a number of other projects in Rimbey and the surrounding area, Grieman said the current downfall in economic conditions could play a role in how long the project will take to finish but he anticipates it should be entirely completed early in 2012.
“I would say the whole project will be finalized within the next three years, if not sooner,” he said. “It depends on the conditions of the economy and all that stuff to see how quick we can get it completed.”