I'm feeling green.
I just got a sneak peek at the new Seward Co-op opening tomorrow, and I gotta tell you, it's green. The new digs at Franklin and Riverside are covered in these beautiful lime colored panels, but that's not really what I mean.
The new building is a candidate for Gold-level LEED certification, which means the builders had to design with intent to meet a bevvy of standards. The site will capture and retain storm water, rain gardens will be used as landscaping, and natural light is a key feature throughout the whole building. While keeping the old roof and ceiling structure, they added light tubes that funnel sunlight to the store level and magnify it. When there's enough sun, the other fluorescent lights actually dim to conserve energy. Plus it's just friendlier, especially in January, to feel a little sky coming down.
But that's not all that is changing at the oldest co-op in the city. The new deli is open and spacious, offering prepared foods for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If you decide to nosh in the windowed room, you will use real plates; plastic is for take-out only. The produce display is built on wheels, so that they may expand and redesign when the harvest provides more product. For the first time, it has an in-house butchery, where Bill Baskin (former chef at Red Stag) will be creating sausages and salami.
And then there's the feel of the place, which is a little sleeker, shinier, and, dare I say, mainstream. Although co-ops have always lived happily, sometimes smugly, outside the mainstream, it's nice to see that evolution in a city leader. By looking more like an average grocery store, even though it may irk some longtime members, it is able to appeal to a wider audience and hopefully educate the next generations about what's possible when people band together.
And isn't that the dream of the dream, working together to create something cool? You should have seen the smiling throngs of employees busily unpacking boxes and literally creating their departments. It was with giddiness that some of them stocked shelves, filled bins with bulk oats, and placed product.
It made me wish I lived in the neighborhood. That's the real reason I was green.
Fox 9 morning news will be broadcasting from the grand opening tomorrow morning.