Oscar Wilde once said "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." Well, if that’s the case, then the owners of the newly-renovated Nelson Agri-Center True Value in Viroqua, Wisconsin should be flattered by what their customers were asking for. In 2015, Friede & Associates designed and constructed the award-winning Nelson True Value in Prairie du Chein for owners Mark Brueggen and Dan Kanis. No sooner had we completed their new retail building that both staff and patrons of their Viroqua location started asking for a similar upgrade. So, in the beginning of Fall 2016, with the help of our design-build partners Shulfer Architects, plans were developed to transform an aging retail store into a bright, modern space.
Substantial renovations were going to be required at the Agri-Center in Viroqua to match the overall aesthetic of the Prairie du Chien location. The Friede team started indoors by removing inoperable overhead mechanical equipment and installing white acoustic ceiling panels. The exposed steel beams were painted white, new electrical fixtures were added and new windows were installed to create more natural lighting. Suspended signs were also removed to further enhance the open feel of the retail store.
Nelson Agri-Center remained open during renovations so our team’s main goal was to ensure the safety of all employees and patrons.
Most interior work was done at night or in phases—a small area of ceiling panels, lighting and painting would be completed before moving on to the next. As shelves and stock were left in place so as not to inconvenience Agri-Center customers, narrow lifts were required to work between aisles. Keeping products on the main retail floor reduced renovation time, allowing the project to be completed in preparation for the Agri-Center’s busy spring season.
Once the interior renovations were complete, our team’s efforts shifted to the front entrances and the façade.
Mirroring the Prairie du Chien retail location involved the installation of new timber dormers, masonry and timber column wraps, as well as new metal roof soffits. The metal roofing was also replaced or repainted and the roof canopy was reconstructed. During this phase of construction, our team discovered that the column and roof connections were not structurally sound. We consulted a structural engineer to determine the safest way to shore up the roof connections. Finally, fieldstone brick veneer was installed on both the columns and the wainscoting on the exterior of the building.
Special attention was devoted to the project schedule as both main entries would also be reconstructed. Despite these major renovations, all store events were to remain on schedule. This required significant planning and jobsite coordination to ensure soffit, structural reconstruction and site work was done while still allowing safe access to the store. Fencing was utilized to create work zones and provide staging areas for materials. This also allowed sections of the parking lot to be used exclusively for Agri-Center patrons. Renovations were completed in Spring 2018 following the installation of new sidewalks, asphalt paving and new outdoor signage.
Our team could not be more proud of the work we completed at Nelson Agri-Center True Value.
“During our recent remodel. we had many challenges along the way as our nearly 100-year-old retail hardware building had been added on to several times. We couldn't be happier with our final project,” notes Co-Owner Dan Kanis,
The Friede Team juggled multiple renovation phases all while maintaining employee and customer safety as well as the project’s budget and schedule. We are fortunate to be able to work with clients like Dan and Mark who have multiple projects and believe that repeat business means a job well done.