Addition slated for March completion
Work is under way on an addition to Tonganoxie's B&J Apple Market.
New construction on the south and west sides of the store will add more than 12,000 square feet of space. In addition, the grocery at Ridge Street and U.S. Highway 24-40 will undergo extensive remodeling.
"The whole store is going to change," said owner Jim Gambrill.
Once the project is complete next March, the store will total about 31,000 square feet, Gambrill said.
The increase in size will mean the 15-year-old store will become a Country Mart, a designation under Associated Grocers, the store's supplier.
The first phase of construction will include work on a dock and employee parking on the east side of the existing building.
"There won't be any trucks in the parking lot anymore," Gambrill said.
The main addition to the building will be on the south. Once construction is complete, customers will walk through a newly designed entrance and airlock that will be just south of the existing entrance. The new entryway will soar 36 to 38 feet in the air, according to architect Kurt von Achen, Eudora.
Inside the store, the produce, frozen foods and deli departments will double. The delicatessen will feature eating space.
Gambrill currently is seeking a pharmacist to lease space in the store.
"We've got some feelers out there now," he said.
A new floor will be laid, and new cases will be brought in. Also, a sprinkler system will be installed, which will be a first for Tonganoxie.
It will be a challenge to operate a grocery store during the next four months as Harris Construction crews work alongside shoppers and B&J employees.
"We are going to stay open," Gambrill said. "A lot of work will be done at night."
Gambrill and his son, Eric, who manages the store, said a variety of factors played into the decision to expand.
"We're busting at the seams," Jim Gambrill said. "It's the time to do it."
In addition, the Gambrills were concerned about competition entering the Tonganoxie market if they didn't expand.
B&J's work force, which now numbers about 60 full- and part-time employees will grow.
"We don't have a number set on that yet," Jim Gambrill said.
Both father and son have experience in construction, so the process is not a new one.
"It will be interesting to watch it all happen," Eric Gambrill said.