The Rhinelander Food Pantry got a step closer to a new home Monday, as the Golden Harvest grocery store opened its new location. But there’s still a few months of work ahead before the food pantry can open its new doors.
The old Golden Harvest grocery building on Coon Street sits nearly empty, as the store finishes a move to a new building more than twice as large. Golden Harvest owner Timothy Conjurske says until now the store was bursting at the seams.
“We had aisles that were not even quite three feet wide in some places here. We couldn’t fit in here, our customers couldn’t fit, the parking lot was too full. We had to get out of here. It was not a choice.”
But what was too small for one operation is a huge upgrade for another – in this case the Rhinelander Food Pantry. It will provide a welcome 50 percent more space, and allow for more storage, a seating area, and better workflow.
“And then we’ll unload trucks here. We should have room to pull a pickup truck in here so that we can unload inside, instead of now we’re unloading outside in the rain.”
But Rhinelander Food Pantry director Guy Hansen says there is still a lot of work to be done.
“The major renovation is going to put a new roof on, and put insulation in the roof. That’s done first. The major work on the inside is going to be put a wall up to separate the storage area from the distribution area.”
The building project still needs state approval, because it involves structural changes. Hansen says that should come next month.
The Rhinelander food pantry has almost reached its capital campaign goal of 150-thousand dollars to help pay for the building.
It’s also received a matching grant from the USDA…for up to $26,000 for equipment, like shopping carts, tables and palette movers.
The food pantry hopes to move into the new building in October.