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Building the Store, Part 2: Grogan Jewelers: The Dog Days of August: The Trouble with The Dirt

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Building the Store: The dog days of August: The Trouble with The Dirt

BY EILEEN MCCLELLAND

Published in the October 2012 issue

Over 10 days in the middle of August, when some lucky jeweler was no doubt enjoying a late summer vacation on an idyllic beach, Jay Klos, owner of Grogan Jewelers, was in Florence, AL, watching a building come down.

Demolition of a former restaurant on his recently acquired property — where his spacious new destination store will be — took about 10 days. All went well with the city permits. The appropriate departments showed up to disconnect utilities and remove city equipment. The building was torn down, as expected.

But as the footings from the old building were dug up, an unexpected expense cropped up — in the form of dirt.

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Yes, dirt.

Klos was surprised to discover that the dirt under the restaurant was not properly compacted, even though the building had been in that location for 20 years.

“We have probably about 10 or 15 truckloads of dirt that we had to take out and replace. That cost about $5,000. Not too bad, but you have to make sure you don’t get eaten up by $5,000 here and $5,000 there.”

In late August, Klos was predicting the steel frame would go up in early October.

“It takes six to seven weeks from the time you throw out a bid for steel until the time they start erecting it. You have to have the steel made to specifications.”

Meanwhile footings, subflooring and the pad will go in.

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Klos is building an 8,000-square-foot retail location, of which 5,500 square feet will be the new location of Grogan Jewelers. The rest he will rent to a tenant he deems to be an appropriate fit. Klos closed on the property in July. His budget is $2 million, including the purchase of the land.

In late August, while waiting for that steel order to go through, Klos had a lot to think about. Here are just a few of the things on his to-do list on Aug. 27:

  • Determine where electricity sources will go in the floor to power up computers and jewelry cases. “It’s less expensive by far to come through walls. But we’ll need it to come through the floor for cases or for counters that are not close to a wall. It does get pricier.”
  • “Make sure all of our bids are in.” He was also arranging to meet with subcontractors — electrical, HVAC and plumbing — who had already put in bids, to see what could be done to save him money by tweaking the architect’s plan. “If you talk to the guys in the field, they are going to tell you all kinds of ways they can save you money, especially if you sit down with them before you get started. The architect draws it one way and you sit down with the electrician and he may say that some parts aren’t necessary.”
  • He was also spending time considering window areas that are directly in the sun and how best to deal with that, using gas or film or other materials that can be put in the windows to filter the light without blocking it out completely.

“We’re picking out the basic things now,” he says, including the flooring — wood, for most of the sales floor, and stone for the sunken, engagement shop-within-a-shop area.

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