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August 6, 2021

Grocery stores sell an assortment of foods and various household items. Sometimes going by “supermarkets,” grocery stores are primary sources for food needs. Nowadays, grocery stores are ideal resources for many products, thus transforming them into essential local resources. If you are planning on building one yourself, you may be asking, “How long does it take to build a grocery store?”, among other queries.

What the process to build a grocery store entails

To get right to the point in answering “How long does it take to build a grocery store?”, it usually takes 4-6 months. However, there are certain factors to keep in mind that affect how long it takes to build a grocery store. There is the store’s size and whether it’s being built within an existing building or from scratch. Additionally, how cordial the local government is.

Part of this process is obtaining licenses and permits. Failing to obtain necessary permits and licenses can lead to sizable fines, or worse, shut down your business. You need a grocer’s license, a license from a local health department, and a certificate of occupancy. Moreover, all establishments that serve food need to pass a health inspection. On top of all this, you will need zonal permits for the construction.

The permits that are mandatory for opening a grocery store will vary depending on where you are. Generally speaking, they can take 4-6 weeks or longer to acquire.

Additionally, you will need to find the right location. Location is a key component in business, especially when it comes to the success of the business. There are business consultants who specialize in assisting people to select an ideal location for their business. One that will guarantee them a profit.

Site and procurement assessment

Like with any construction project, you will need to employ a general contractor to build a grocery store. They will visit the project site and establish a position for the site trailer, the fencing, and the company signage. Additionally, they will order the porta johns and temporary power, as well as install the erosion control. After this, the general contractor is officially in the operation mode of the project, meaning the construction can commence.

Any construction job requires a thorough understanding of the material and equipment necessary to carry out the work. The key element of this knowledge is being able to identify the “long lead” items. These are items that typically require ample time to acquire. These items include fixtures for the lights and toilets, air handling units, and emergency generators.

As you can no doubt tell, knowledge about the construction project is mandatory. Only with this understanding can you identify the proper material and equipment that is deemed long lead. Our article, Construction Plan and When to Hire a General Contractor, provides more insight into this subject.

Opening costs and ongoing expenses

After considering a startup investment, grocery store owners will usually spend $70,000-$100,000 to obtain equipment. A solid point-of-sale system requires an additional $40,000. Initial inventory is prone to being a massive investment, with it being approximately $160,000. Pre-opening expenses – such as rent and insurance – can add another $10,000. When combined with advertising, security deposits, and working capital, these expenses often exceed $500,000.

In some places, you can pay your employees $7.25-$10 per hour. However, in most major cities, that number could be higher. Utilities are not exactly cheap and cost a grocer up to $5,000 per month. This ultimately depends on the overall size of their freezer section. Food must be restocked, which also is a varying expense. A good way to save money is to purchase goods in bulk.

When it comes to the store’s size, the larger it is, the larger the budget will be to get it up and running. Particularly, as it relates to stocking the store. Aside from the stocking cost, it will also cost more to position employees to manage various jobs in the store. This translates to spending money to open the grocery store’s doors.

To learn more about how much building a grocery store costs, check out our article How much does it cost to build a grocery store?

Final thoughts on how long it takes to build a grocery store

The process is extensive, planning and construction cost a substantial amount of money, and the industry is competitive. However, when your store is ready to go, it will all be worth it. Our Calgary construction location provides project management services if you ever need assistance.