The Deeper the Roots, the Greater the Fruits: Calgary Farmers’ Market
Almost two decades ago, the Calgary Farmers’ Market (CFM) opened its doors. Originally leasing a historic airplane hangar, Calgarians immediately showed up in droves to source local goods and support small businesses, turning CFM into a local institution in the process. This past year, in the summer of 2022, CFM expanded its reach, opening a second location at the city’s western edge, with Govan Brown’s Calgary team responsible for the interior fit-out. CFM West now stands as one of the last landmarks you see heading out on Canada’s Highway 1 toward the Rocky Mountains and one of the first to greet you coming into the city.
With the community top of mind at every stage, it’s fitting that bringing CFM West to fruition was like a modern-day barn raising. Having been handed over the core and shell building from the base builders, Govan Brown’s Calgary team built-out the 59,000sf space, including the main market space, a food hall with 12 commercial kitchens, a second-floor event space, and a kids play area. Govan Brown also supported in fitting out each individual stall for the 67 small business vendors who now call CFM West home.
HIGH YIELDING SOLUTIONS
Given the impressive number of stakeholders involved, the team pushed themselves to innovate and come to the table with unorthodox solutions to project challenges. One challenge: those 67 vendors. The team utilized a vendor coordinator, a designated point person to simplify the complex process of managing numerous vendors simultaneously. The team also leveraged their previous experience in building out hospitality spaces similar in typology which gave them a framework to develop an execution plan. Tackling the space in sections helped to structure the site as well as the manpower, ensuring the work was efficient and performed safely. From bringing drawings sketched out on napkins to life to adjusting to design changes, agility was the name of the game.
“They were very accommodating when we had to change. We had equipment come in with different electrical, but they were always willing to find a solution to our problems,” Sharla Dube, owner of Cherry Pit & Better Juice Bar, said of the Govan Brown team’s amenability. “They’re my genie in a bottle because they came up with solutions to every problem.”
NO KINKS IN THE CHAIN
But before they could get to vendor build out, the team first had to consider the supply chain. To ensure the project was completed in time for their summer 2022 opening, a heavy pre-order effort was required, with much of the raw material being ordered pre-shop drawings. Getting started on the right foot was essential to the team’s success and knowing the lead times of certain items, like structural steel and mechanical equipment, as well as the main distribution panels, ensured the team was at the helm of the schedule, not the supply chain.
“The Govan Brown team was really easy to work with,” said Stacey Petropoulos, general manager of CFM. “They kept their cool, pulled it together, and got the project done.”
By making it a priority to get ahead of the supply chain, the team was able to eliminate it as a stressor they’d have to contend with downstream and deliver on schedule in spite of pandemic challenges.
The team’s commitment to the project and drive to go beyond convention was of course done in an effort to deliver a space CFM and its vendors could be proud to call home. But seeing the project as a chance to give back and support Calgary and the greater Alberta community was also a motivating factor, says Graham Polson, Govan Brown senior project manager. “I was born and raised in Calgary. A lot of our trade partners were local. This project provided a unique opportunity to get involved in the community.”
Location: Calgary, AB
Client: Calgary Farmers’ Market
Project Manager: CBRE
Architect: Riddell Kurczaba
Engineer: DBk Engineering