Starfish Market is kicking off a week-long party on Tuesday, December 7, to celebrate the completion of major renovations to the supermarket located on the first floor of The Marketplace.
While residents have already been enjoying the store’s sleek new look — including porcelain tiles and expanded shelving — Carlson Construction officials have been putting the finishing touches on major environmentally-friendly improvements to the store.
Renovations began in July and throughout the more than five months of work, the store never shut its doors, which presented unique challenges to the crew, explained Carlson Construction general manager Andy Arnold, who was project manager on the Starfish renovations.
“Keeping the construction contained and allowing the store to continue servicing the community presented challenges,” said Arnold. “Containing the mayhem that is created by construction wasn’t easy.”
Carlson and subcontractors who worked on the project more than rose to the challenge. Renovations — the first major work on the store in 10 years — included hi-tech upgrades to the refrigeration and air conditioning systems, explained Arnold.
“We replaced all the existing refrigeration with new cases and converted the cases to more eco-friendly refrigeration,” he said. “In order to do that we had to use all new copper piping to run the refrigerant in the ceiling, which we had not anticipated.”
“We also replaced the air conditioning with a computer driven system that shuts itself off when it reaches temperature and takes the heat it reclaims and uses it to heat their water,” said Arnold.
The refrigeration system is also computer driven to maintain temperature and automatically defrost, the project manager added.
“All of this was engineered to be 21st century technology and will save the store significant money in its energy use,” Arnold said.
The old linoleum floor was replaced with porcelain tile, which had to be installed in sections in order to keep the disturbance to a minimum, explained Arnold.
“The crew worked really hard and functioned really well under the stress of being confined and doing the really messy work in the evening in order to keep the store open,” he said. “Hilroy Francis was the foreman on the project and he did an excellent job of helping me coordinate all the subcontractors while doing a lot of the work right along with the workers.”
During the first phase of renovations, the Carlson crew built a new receiving area, installed a new walk-in freezer in the back of the store and built an additional 1,000 square feet of storage, Arnold explained.
Other phases of the project were installing the new air conditioning and refrigeration systems and replacing the flooring, sheet rock, shelving units and dairy cases.
“We replaced the sheet rock with a new material called Aqua Tough which was developed after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans,” said the general manager. “It can hold water for two weeks and won’t mold or mildew. The new refrigeration won’t be producing the moisture the old one did, but now even if there is some mold, it will never grow.”
Other eco-friendly upgrades to Starfish included replacing old wooden shutters, bread displays, crash rails and crown molding with eucalyptus, a renewable wood source. The new freezer cases also include sensors, which turn off the lights when no one is around, Arnold added.
The project was one of the most challenging Carlson has ever taken on, according to Arnold.
“So much of the project had to be done as it presented itself,” he said. “It was absolutely one of the most challenging projects that Carlson Construction has every done and is the project that has gotten the most positive feedback from people. We’re very proud of it.”
While this round of renovations will be complete this week, there are still several components which will be upgraded next year, Arnold added.
“We hope next year to complete the lighting program and we also hope to modernize the deli ordering process,” he said. “But we’re really happy with what we accomplished through the renovation process. People really enjoy the store now and have been saying it’s as nice as any stateside store.”
Stop by the market this week and try some food or drink samples while enjoying the new upgrades at Starfish market.