People’s Food Co-op

After almost forty years in less than 1,000 square feet of space, the Kalamazoo People’s Food Co-op desired to expand their operations incorporating the values of the organization centered around environmental stewardship. The primary goal of the project was to locate a new store in the downtown Kalamazoo area that provides the visibility, parking, and traffic that ensures the success of the business, while being conscious of expenses, future growth, and sustainable practices.

The Co-op found an ideal 0.8 acre Brownfield site on the edge of downtown that affords high traffic volume, plenty of parking, and future expansion space. The Co-op formed a wonderful collaboration with the Fair Food Matters Can-Do-Kitchen, a shared-use incubator kitchen facility for food entrepreneurs who want to turn their idea into a viable business. This tenant occupies 1,400 square feet, and the Co-op occupies 5,000 square feet of space.

The Co-op program calls for retail space as well as behind-the-scene support spaces for offices, stock, cooler, produce, and utilities. Other program requirements include another 5,000 square feet of future growth area and interior and exterior social spaces for members to interact as well as community garden space on the site. Sustainable design features include bioswale stormwater control, a heat island reduction white membrane energy star roof, light-colored impervious concrete, native plant landscaping, water-efficient plumbing fixtures, well-insulated tight envelope, reusable heat from refrigeration equipment, non-CFC refrigerants, Solatube lighting, recycled content, regional materials, and low VOC materials.