Turnip Truck

Crain Construction Turnip Truck
  • 15,667-square-foot original building
  • 1,035-square-foot loading dock

Architect: Manuel Zeitlin Architects

Contractor: Crain Construction

Communication Keeps Teams Informed and Project on Track, Despite Tornadoes and Coronavirus

Turnip Truck owners were renovating a 1940s structure in West Nashville as the third location in the natural foods grocery store portfolio. They needed a general contractor who could manage the multiple moving parts of the adaptive reuse project while they focused on operating the existing stores.

Crain Construction wrapped arms around the repurposing project, coordinating with 20 engineers and contractors scattered across the country, and kept the project moving forward despite tornadoes, the coronavirus and a very rainy season.


Refrigeration, fixturing, food prep, solar engineers. Twenty firms needed one point of contact to fill the information gaps and coordinate with everyone. As the store opening approached, tornadoes hit the city, scattering and damaging new store equipment tucked away in a warehouse. COVID-19 followed the tornadoes, slowing Metro inspections. A heavy rainy season also complicated installation of the roof system and exterior work.


To keep everyone on track, Crain Construction conducted weekly conference calls involving all parties working on the project. This kept information flowing and helped us understand and accommodate the various needs.
After the tornadoes, we worked together with Turnip Truck to retrieve and salvage kitchen equipment and store display items which had to be in place prior to Metro inspections. Implementing safe distancing, our five-person crew worked for three weeks to set up appliances, build shelves and paint the interior so the grocery store staff could focus on stocking the store.

Coordination, scheduling and extra efforts by the structural steel, rough carpentry and roofing contractor allowed the ultimate installation of a new roofing system over the complicated four-level roof project. Our good relationships with subcontractors, diligent scheduling and off-hour work got the outside labor completed for the opening.

During the renovation, crews built a new 1,035-square-foot loading dock, a pit and a special lift to accommodate carts, make bulk deliveries more efficient and minimize damage to goods. A two-story windowed main entrance was added to allow natural light into the store. Drywall and acoustical ceiling were removed to expose the barrel-vaulted ceiling.

Solar panels were mounted on the roof, a complex area of different heights and shapes, and provide 15 percent of the store’s energy. This required a great deal of coordination with the various crews and extensive overlays of the systems to ensure safety and access.

By bringing everyone together and keeping them informed, we helped Turnip Truck open a much-needed grocery store for West Nashville’s growing population. The project also received an Excellence in Construction Award from Associated Builders and Contractors of Tennessee.

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