Project Highlight: Fresh Design Ideas for a Local Grocery Store

One of the core components of BRR’s culture is our team’s emphasis on community service and giving our time and talents to the cities where we live and work. Earlier in 2021, a number of our Kansas City-based teammates sought to identify new organizations where we could donate our time.

Research led the team to LISC, Local Initiatives Support Corporation. LISC helps numerous community groups find funding and support for projects which develop more resilient and healthy communities. LISC learned about BRR’s long history of grocery store design, so our team was put in contact with another non-profit, CBKC, Community Builders of Kansas City.

CBKC is Kansas City’s largest urban core developer, and its mission is to improve communities through education, increased access to resources, and through quality affordable housing. CBKC acquired a grocery store in a neighborhood located southeast of downtown — one of the few full-service supermarkets in the area. The CBKC team had identified the importance of this store; should this Sun Fresh supermarket close, it would create a large food desert in the area. Therefore, CBKC began making plans to develop it into a best-in-class supermarket. It is also the organization’s first grocery store project, so the team was eager to hear the ideas, perspective and expertise BRR could bring to the table.

CBKC sought to update the store and introduce some new programming including grocery pick-up, a coffee shop, a community room, a community kitchen and a medical tenant. The intention was to hold a grand re-opening of the store on Memorial Day weekend to unveil the plans to the community and reiterate CBKC’s dedication to the store’s improvement.

Our team quickly set to work.

After ascertaining the desires of client team and conducting a site visit, the BRR team developed several schematic designs, a conceptual layout, a material color palette, and renderings to guide the planned improvements. BRR identified an opportunity to create a grab-and-go section for the large lunch crowd. We also proposed adding a meat service counter, which would increase the staff’s contact with the community and provide additional jobs, which aligned with one of the community grants CBKC received for the project.

Additional recommendations include relocating the bakery and adding a service counter, a coffee shop and outdoor dining. The opening of the façade at the coffee shop creates a more welcoming entry, provides sightlines into the store, and provides a much-needed function in an otherwise stark entry.

The CBKC team unveiled the designs and renderings at the reopening event Memorial Day weekend, and it was met with positive feedback from the community.

In all, the collective BRR team donated more than 100 total hours to this project; it allowed BRR to connect with another Kansas City-based organization and leverage our knowledge and talents to revitalize this neighborhood store.

Stay tuned for what comes next.

BRR Core Team: Meredith Ditty, Emily Hays and Sarina Shanks, with the CBKC team.