Eckert team members have always referred to the site just north of the Garden Center as the Rock Lot. True to its name, it was a wide open lot filled with gravel. Despite its simplistic look, this space has been responsible for many seasonal operations during its tenure, including merchandising trees and shrubs during the spring and housing pumpkins and festival activities in the fall. When the Garden Center was built in 2000, the Rock Lot was actually created to be the future birthplace of a new store if we ever decided to expand our operations.
A decade later this dream is becoming a reality, as made evident by the mounds of dirt and swamps of mud. It feels like for the last week they have just been moving around the same dirt pile, but this of course is hardly the case. They are actually doing all the necessary things that us on this side of the ground take for granted. Our new Country Store wouldn’t be any better than the soon-to-be retired one without the proper sewer, plumbing and foundation. So we will stick to farming fruit trees, and let the construction workers keep digging dirt.
The new 22,000 square foot Country Store will boast expanded retail space and a 1200 square foot cooking and workshop classroom. Despite the construction, the current Country Store will remain open all year. We anticipate opening the new Country Store in July 2010. The final phase will include expanding the seating of the Country Restaurant into the vacated store, which will bring the expansion project to its conclusion in September 2010.