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H&W remodel makes way for more organics


Mary Koppes / Petersburg Pilot

Remodeling is underway at the Hammer and Wikan grocery store. The project includes installation of another 12-foot produce case, making space for more organics, and add a more open feel to the store's entrance.

The Hammer and Wikan grocery store is undergoing a remodel that will open up the front of the store and add more organic produce and natural and Asian food products.

General Manager Larry Martin said that the remodel is a continuation of work they did last year at the store.

"This is basically an extension of last year when we came in and replaced all the refrigeration in the store," Martin said. "What we're doing now is finishing the center store (dry goods). We're also adding another 12-foot produce that we can get more organics which people are asking for."

This increased local demand for organic and natural foods mirrors a nationwide trend. Organic food sales in the U.S. increased 145% in the eight years between 2004 and 2012, from approximately $11 to $27 billion, according to the Nutrition Business Journal.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the government agency that oversees organic certification, organic foods can be found in 75 percent of conventional grocery stores, totaling nearly 20,000 stores nationwide.

In addition to increasing organic food offerings, the current phase of the H&W remodel is also opening up the front of the store by relocating the Costco rack and bringing in smaller shelving units for bread.

"That Costco rack up front really blocked everything...and we wanted to add the produce case, and we couldn't do it without moving the Costco products," Martin said.

The popular Costco items will still be for sale at the store; they're just being moved across the aisle.

"We're not discontinuing anything (Costco)," he said.

Shoppers can also expect to see an expanded Asian food section with more Filipino and Korean products offered.

Martin said he hopes to complete the remodel by next Friday.

"There may be some floor work and some minor construction to take care of but the main set and everything should be done by next Friday," he said


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