For Weavers Way staffers, closing their Mt. Airy store from July 12th to August 31st calls for as much community-oriented outreach preparation as it does physical renovation work.
Since the actual construction slated for the Weavers Way store at 559 Carpenter Lane won’t start until July 16th, this week’s efforts are focused on the pop-up grocery store that will open for local shoppers’ convenience on July 11th at 555 Carpenter Lane, site of the Weavers Way original storefront in 1972 and the current home of the co-op’s offices and meeting room.
Hours for the pop-up store will be 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Weavers Way spokesman Jon McGoran touts the site’s upcoming outdoor produce market. In the community room, which is currently being prepped with shelves, registers and few refrigerated cases, a “core selection” of items from each Weaver’s Way department will be for sale.
Free ride to Chestnut Hill
Another measure for customers’ convenience includes planned shuttle buses to take regular shoppers from their accustomed Mt. Airy site to the Chestnut Hill store, though exact schedules for the shuttles have not been finalized. McGoran confirms that the shuttles will probably run every 20-30 minutes for a three or four hour loop on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings.
“We’re doing it to keep people shopping at the co-op, but also to get people to the Chestnut Hill store without any parking woes,” McGoran said. “People can get up and back and leave their cars at home.” This is an important accommodation for Mt. Airy Weavers Way customers, most of whom live within a few blocks of the store.
“We also want to reduce any strain on the parking facilities at the Chestnut Hill store,” McGoran added.
Pet store space to expand
Meanwhile, another major piece of the renovation moves forward. A new “Weavers Way Across the Way” store is underway across the street from 559 Carpenter. Formerly the site of a separate pet store and yoga studio, the spaces at 608 and 610 Carpenter Lane are being combined into a new space that will include a pet store on one side and a Wellness Department on the other, hosting the goods from the upstairs portion of the current Mt. Airy Weavers Way location as well as some household items.
In a big stride for the proposed space, the wall between 608 and 610 was knocked down just this week. A re-do of the floors, walls and fixtures is now underway.
For pet-owners who enjoy shopping with their dogs, McGoran says not to fear: since the new store is not selling any (human) food items, dogs will still be welcome in the new space as long as they’re leashed and well-supervised.
Construction may not be started at the main store yet, but several initiatives are underway to prepare everyone for the temporary inconvenience, including communications to vendors and suppliers, who can expect curtailed or reduced purchases from the Mt. Airy store through August.
“One of the things we’re also trying to be very conscious of is the fact that there are these other businesses in Mt. Airy Village which depend to a certain degree on the foot traffic that Weavers Way brings in,” McGoran said.
When they realized that their operations would change so significantly through late summer, according to McGoran, Weavers Way wanted to help maintain “a decent stream of traffic” for the sake of their neighboring businesses. So there will be a special focus this summer on outdoor events at the Carpenter Lane site, including a farmers market every Thursday, and events every Friday and Saturday that will include crafts, grilling and live music.
Swear you loyalty
Another newly-launched program meant to take the sting out of the closure is the Mt. Airy Village Loyalty Card, sponsored by Weavers Way. Any local shopper can pick up a Loyalty Card from participating businesses, beginning on July 1st. These locations include the Highpoint Café, Big Blue Marble Books, and Weavers Way itself. Participating retailers will punch a hole in the card for each purchase, and for every ten punches buyers get, they’re eligible for a discount card good for $5 off any purchase of $50 or more at any Weavers Way store. This program will be active until one week after the reopening of the main Mt. Airy store.
McGoran confirms that products will begin to move from the upstairs portion of the main store to their new home in the Wellness Department across the street as early as next week. On Friday July 27th, Weavers Way invites residents to an inauguration of the new joint space at 608/610 with a champagne and hors d’oeuvres reception from 5-8pm.