Surviving the Renovation Adventure

Surviving the Renovation Adventure

Amanda Teng

I started this week with a massive fright. The first estimate for the carpentry works came in early Monday morning at more than three times our initial budget! 😩😩😩

The short time frame and our ‘unique’ customisations drove the price up. Let’s just say, it was enough to make my vision of a vegan grocer suddenly seem very, very, very out of reach.

There were also many unpleasant surprises in the store. We found out that the water and drain point were in the wrong location and we would have to pay more to move it closer to our café counter.

There was also a fire emergency call point smack right in the middle of where my chiller and freezers were supposed to go, and the contractor hit me with a huge bill just to move it 1 meter to the side.

And yes, I stupidly forgot about signboards. I found out this week that signboards actually cost a LOT of money… who would’ve known? 🤷‍♀️ At this point I wanted to make my own signboard with water colors 🤪, but the mall guidelines would not allow it!

On top of all that, I was experimenting with afternoon delivery slots which meant I had less time to focus on all these problems creeping up on me.

Let's just say, it was a long and sleepless week. The only way I have been surviving this is with the support of my team 🙌 .

Yes, that’s right I have a team now. I can finally say ‘we’ in my blogs and letters without feeling weird about it 😅.

Who are they?

I have had a part-time assistant for a month-plus now. This week I asked him to join EVG full-time and I am so happy he agreed. He doesn’t want to be mentioned by name in this blog, but I want to say he has been as dependable as a rock in helping maintain our store catalog, making sure the website is tidy and our books stay organised. 

I have also asked a friend to join us full time to help with operations. She also does not want to be mentioned by name (strange, no one wants to be mentioned in my blog 🤪). She has been a huge and great relief for me, especially with the mounting paperwork on my table and all the planning that I have to do in preparation for our physical opening. 

I truly appreciate all the hard work they have both put in, and quite frankly, the trust and belief in me and our vision of what we are trying to build.

It goes without saying that our partner, goodStudio, stayed innovative and resourceful, and successfully overcame many of the technical challenges.

We had to agree to make some compromises along the way. One of the biggest compromises that we had to make was to forego the reusing of pallet wood in the carpentry.

Turns out there is a lot of workmanship required to upcycle pallet wood, which also means more time and cost. So instead of upcycling pallet wood, goodStudio suggested OSB (oriented strand board), which is a manufactured wood material that is made from shreds of young softwood. All research points to the fact that OSB has a lower carbon footprint than plywood or pine.

We also talked to many companies before settling on the best balance of price and quality of workmanship. For the carpentry work alone, we must have spoken to over 5 contractors before settling with the final one.

So with everyone’s support, and many nights of texting back and forth, we managed to bring the renovation budget closer to our original budget without any major compromise on vision.

The journey is just beginning however! I imagine there will be many more challenges along the way, but I am still optimistic about our opening this 1 November (World Vegan Day). 

Please hold on tight, because we are going to be releasing news about our opening day, little by little as I get the nuts and bolts sorted out. But I am envisioning, vegan cakes and bakes, fresh cups of coffee lattes by the Everyday Vegan Café, and many new exclusive arrivals on our grand opening. And yes, don’t worry, we are also going to have a grand opening sale for all of you.

That’s the plan anyway. Please don’t blame me if I open on World Vegan Day with an IKEA shelf and a basket of vegetables. I hope you will still come 🤪. 

Thank you all again for continuing to support Everyday Vegan Grocer and believing in our mission to serve everyone with Everyday Vegan groceries, so that we can choose kindness, everyday. 


Keep you posted!


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