Reach Out Lodi‘s Community Store is preparing to expand in 2020 to meet increasing demand for their services, and provide a safer, more efficient experience for their customers. Capital fundraising is under way, and almost 30% ($45,000) of the projected $155,000 in costs has been secured.
What is the Community Store?
For many, Reach Out Lodi is the “community center” that hosts classes for senior citizens, Wellness of Wednesday, mahjongg on Friday mornings, and a host of other community gatherings. For others–families in need–it’s a place to get food, clothing, household essentials, and school supplies during tough times. Since 2013, the Community Store has helped almost 1400 people make it through difficult times. 42% of those were children.
As the Lodi community continues to grow, so does the number of people that need short- or long-term assistance. Fortunately, the number of people offering that assistance has also grown. This has resulted in space issues for the store.
Approval to Grow
In August of 2019, the board of directors approved a plan to add a little over 1500 ft2 (54′ x 28′) to the back side of the building in order to expand the space available to the store, improve the safety and efficiency of the space, and make mechanical improvements that will reduce operating costs and make maintenance easier.
Top improvements include:
- Increased storage capacity for both the Community Store and the Community Center
- Expansion of the refrigeration area to reduce congestion and keep more perishable foods fresh
- Better organization and more efficient management of store inventory
- Replacement of old and inefficient ceiling heating/cooling units to lower utility costs and make for easier maintenance
- Wider aisles to improve safety and reduce congestion
- Increased display space for clothing
Community and Construction
General Engineering Company was hired to draft up the architectural plans and help navigate the legal requirements of construction. That construction will be lead by retired Lodi general contractor, Jim Krinke–a name quite familiar to area residents. The labor for the actual construction will be provided by a team of local volunteers. Krinke’s oversight will ensure that all work is done properly, and to code.
General Engineering Company was approached for comment on technical aspects of the construction, but did not respond in time for publication.
Though initial designs have been submitted, and funding is progressing, there are still a few steps required before final approval is received from the state. Commercial construction such as this are subject to stricter regulation than residential construction, and ROL is working hard to ensure that there are no setbacks once construction begins.
If you are interested in contributing–through cash donations, volunteer labor, or free expert skills–contact Reach Out Lodi at 608-592-4592, or through their website ReachOutLodi.org.
A Lodi native, Blaze attended the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay where he graduated with a degree in theatre technology & design. He has traveled extensively throughout the United States and the world–including a 6-year stint in China. He has been a teacher, a writer, a designer, and is the founder of the Redleaf Consulting Group.