Construction on new businesses moves along

CONSTRUCTION: Crews prepare cement curbs for the parking lot at the new location of the Martz and Shapley Hometown Pharmacy. Work on the new pharmacy is expected to finish up in mid-June. (Pioneer photo/Lonnie Allen)

CONSTRUCTION: Crews prepare cement curbs for the parking lot at the new location of the Martz and Shapley Hometown Pharmacy. Work on the new pharmacy is expected to finish up in mid-June. (Pioneer photo/Lonnie Allen)

BIG RAPIDS — As temperatures continue to slowly rise in the Big Rapids area, construction crews are busily preparing two businesses to open this summer.

Rob Torz, director of operations for Hometown Pharmacy, is expecting the construction of the new Martz and Shapley Hometown Pharmacy location on the corner of State and Maple streets to wrap up sometime in mid-June.

“We hoped to further along by now, but the harsher winter slowed us down,” Torz said. “The building is complete, but now we are waiting to pave and landscape around the building.”

At the intersection where the new pharmacy will stand, two of the street entrances are being removed and the sidewalks are being redone to assure safety for pedestrians crossing the street. Previous auto dealerships that occupied the lot used the driveways facing State and Maple streets.

Instead of having multiple entrances, the pharmacy will have an entrance that loops around to the drive-thru window where customers can pick up their prescriptions and exit the same way. There also will be a rear entrance coming from the alley to the east. This will direct traffic more efficiently.

The design of the building is similar to several other Hometown Pharmacy buildings throughout the state, Torz said.

“Our new location will feature more a robust front-end of the store, offering more space for our durable medical equipment,” he said. “We will also have a drive-thru for our pharmacy, which studies show is being utilized more by people just picking up prescriptions.”

South of downtown at 1014 S. State St., near McDonalds, construction continues on the Panera Bread Bakery. The steel skeleton is completed and crews are working on the building’s walls, according to officials at Defever Construction.

SHELL: The outer steel skeleton of the new Panera Bread Bakery south of downtown at 1014 S. State St. is being fitted with walls as crews work to finish the project by the fall of 2014. (Pioneer photo/Lonnie Allen)

SHELL: The outer steel skeleton of the new Panera Bread Bakery south of downtown at 1014 S. State St. is being fitted with walls as crews work to finish the project by the fall of 2014. (Pioneer photo/Lonnie Allen)

Brian Campbell, marketing director for Manna Development Group, which franchises many Panera Bread bakeries throughout west Michigan, said in a previous interview with the Pioneer that officials are hoping to open by fall of 2014.

“We’re slated to open in fall of 2014, but obviously that could get pushed back,” Campbell said.

According to Campbell, the development group is excited to have the restaurant scheduled to open in Big Rapids.

“It’s been a place we’ve looked at for quite some time,” he said. “We’re excited that the project continues to move forward.”

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Posted by Lonnie Allen

Lonnie is the Pioneer's city/county reporter. He also coordinates the Gardens and Growers page. He can be reached by phone at (231) 592-8328 or by e-mail at lallen@pioneergroup.com.

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