Di Bruno Bros. is a family-owned specialty food retailer in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Two brothers, Danny and Joe Di Bruno, opened their first market in 1939, providing the local community with grocery items and imported foods. By 1965, Di Bruno Bros. expanded its products and became a world-class gourmet cheese shop, branding its location the “House of Cheese.” Today, Di Bruno Bros. has multiple European style marketplaces across the region and an online store offering fine cheeses and meats, quality gift items, and extensive catering services.
Di Bruno Bros. engaged Watchdog to provide project management services at its new location in Wayne, Pennsylvania featuring specialty foods, a coffee bar, a full production kitchen for chef-prepared premade meals, and room for culinary demonstrations. Watchdog partnered with the Di Bruno Bros. team to provide insight into the construction process. The team analyzed the cost of requested changes and modified construction phasing to accommodate the client-approved amendments.
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Scheduling issues were experienced early in the project caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In early March 2020, the team requested a building permit, expecting construction to commence in April. Due to the township shut down in response to the pandemic, the permit was delayed until July. This three-month delay required the team to alter the sequence of construction activities to keep the project moving forward. For example, the exterior paint was weather-dependent and could not be applied in the cold and rainy seasons. The team took these things into consideration as the updated project schedule was established.
The Watchdog team supervised the construction manager completing the interior build-out and building façade renovations. Additionally, the team monitored the design documentation, developed the construction budget, and managed the project schedule. Watchdog coordinated with the design team and branding consultant to request a necessary variance from the Radner Township’s Historic and Architectural Review Board to allow the Di Bruno Bros. brand exterior stucco selection.
It was essential to minimize disruption to the existing shopping center tenants and nearby farmer’s market during construction. This was a challenge with many trades working in congested areas. To help with this, crews hauled off debris quickly to reduce disruption to nearby businesses. Additionally, the team worked closely with equipment vendors to understand delivery timelines so items such as refrigeration equipment, custom cabinets, and roof equipment could be installed quickly since the site had a small laydown yard.
Based on Watchdog’s performance on this build-out project, Di Bruno Bros. engaged its services on a second project to consolidate e-commerce fulfillment and corporate offices into one facility. The team is monitoring the fast-paced schedule to ensure the walk-in refrigerator, freezer, warehouse components are fully operational before the busy holiday season.