Sunripe is about to enter a new chapter in its success story with a major expansion of the specialty grocery market in Sarnia’s north end.
The store Wilfred Willemsen opened in 1982 has received city council approval to add a single-storey addition of almost 12,000 square feet.
The expansion into a vacant lot to the west will nearly double the size of the store at the corner of Murphy and Lakeshore roads.
Plans are to build more retail space, more kitchen space and more parking, according to a report submitted to the city. The kitchen will be used to extend the store’s prepared food line.
The expansion will require about 20 more permanent employees.
Two letters of concern about the proposal were submitted to council at a public meeting on Dec. 17.
Both said noise and light pollution could be an issue. The surrounding neighbourhood is primarily residential. The property immediately to the west of the expansion site is a mobile home park that has existed since the 1960s.
A representative of the mobile home park said residents don’t necessarily object to the expansion but want assurance a high, solid fence will buffer them from noise and light.
City planner Max Williams told council his department recommended approval for the project and that it would have minimal impact on the surrounding neighbourhood.
Council unanimously approved the needed rezoning and official plan and bylaw amendments.
Sunripe’s plans call for the relocation of a small plaza with three tenants at 1117 Lakeshore Rd, which will move to the south, adjacent to the store expansion.
That will allow a new access road off Lakeshore to a new parking lot on the west side of the market.
When Willemsen started Sunripe it was located across the street to the north of the current location. In 2010, he and wife Ingrid built the new store on the southwest corner.
They also operate two Sunripe stores in London.