It had been 17 years since the City of Chester had a grocery store for residents to purchase fresh food and produce. The community rallied together, borrowed a space in the city’s central business district, and opened Chester’s Community Grocery Co-op. With a goal to expand from 100 to 300 families, the Co-op needed a new home to meet not just its current and future needs, but also to better serve the Chester community at large. The Co-op found a four-story, 32,000-sf former furniture warehouse on a prominent intersection at the city’s Central Business District that would meet their needs and more.
Infill Philadelphia, an initiative by the Collaborative Design Collaborative to revitalize urban communities, introduced KSS as a volunteer design firm for the Co-op. KSS developed and incorporated design strategies to support their mission in their future home. Every element of the design supports the Co-op’s goals to integrate the renovated warehouse into the community’s retail and urban fabric. The partnership was a valuable experience for both KSS and the Co-op, but the real beneficiary is the Chester community that will soon have easy access to fresh, sustainably produced food in an inspiring and supportive atmosphere.