Latest News About Willy North

Latest News About Willy North

Willy North is now open!

Check here for answers to questions we've gotten about Willy North.

One of the Willy North produce casesWilly North Bulk department - get as much or as little as you'd like!Willy North beer & wine departmentA shot down one of Willy North's wellness aisles.Willy North hot bar in our DeliWilly North salad bar in our Deli

Relevant articles and videos:

Kirsten Moore is the Director of Co-op Services for Willy Street Co-op. With over 33,000 Owners and more to come with the opening of the new location, Moore talks about her department's responsibility to find out how we can make the North store part of the Northside community.

Megan Minnick is the Director of Purchasing for Willy Street Co-op. According to Minnick, opening a third store is an opportunity to meet the needs of our expanding community.

Dean Kallas is the Grocery Category for Willy Street Co-op in Madison, Wisconsin. The Co-op is opening Willy North and for Kallas, it's an opportunity to serve a new community. 

Northside News: WIC and Double Dollars at Willy Street Co-op

Opening Willy North

September 1974, November 2010, August 2016: What do these three dates have in common? They are the birthdays of Willy East, Willy West, and Willy North: these are the three times Willy Street Co-op has opened a new retail site. It’s so exciting to be where we are today, with three stores serving the greater Madison area.

Willy North: A Sea Change

The Willy North Store represents a sea change for the Northside community. This is because it represents a chance for a very economically poor community to experience less of a food desert environment so residents and neighbors can access and add healthier food options in their respective households.

This is particularly important for our communities of color and their broad diverse make-up. Rarely has this been a possibility without a large and full-scale grocery store on this side of town. The other benefit has been an increase in new northside Co-op Owners and that the customers we now serve are truly a mosaic of people from a wide array of backgrounds, beliefs and differences, connected by a consistent thread of being neighbors.

Dichotomies of the Food System

I have long been fascinated in the dichotomies that exist in the sustainable food movement, and how in fact, though we don’t always realize it, it is the push and pull of seemingly opposed factions that allows for real forward momentum.

Let me explain. Years ago, I had the opportunity to attend the Eco Farm Conference, a large organic produce industry gathering held annually in Pacific Grove, California—in the heart of the industrial agricultural land that produces a huge percentage of the vegetables our nation eats. The conference is attended by people from all over the organic food industry: established and aspiring farmers, distributors, brokers, retailers, activists, students, and large corporate packers such as Driscoll’s, CalOrganic and others.

What Co-op Services Have We Been Researching for Willy North?

For many of our Owners, the Co-op is not just a place to purchase groceries, it’s a cornerstone where neighbors gather. Based on your input and what we already provide at Willy East and Willy West, we’ve begun investigating what kinds of services we may be able to provide beyond the grocery either right away or in Willy North’s future. Here’s what’s been discovered thus far (at the time of writing on May 23rd).

Willy North Vision

As the Director of Purchasing at Willy Street Co-op, it’s my job to oversee the product selection, pricing, and store layout planning for Willy North. I’ve been through a lot with the Co-op—I started many years ago as a Produce stocker at Willy East, I was the Produce Manager when we opened Willy West, and I worked in my current role when we renovated Willy East. In my 15 plus years of Co-op history, it seems to me that this project is both more challenging and more exciting than anything we have ever done.

What strikes me most about the Northside is its diversity. This part of Madison boasts an incredibly vast array of people of all income levels, cultural backgrounds, and food traditions.

Willy North Merchandising

As the Merchandiser for Willy Street Co-op, my part in the Northside store project is focused on the presentation and placement of products as well as providing the shopping experience people have come to expect here. By the time you read this, I will have been working on the store layout and merchandising plans for our future Northside site for over three months. I’ve utilized my 16 years in retail merchandising, a great deal of collaboration from my coworkers, and support from some of the best businesses and merchandisers in the natural food industry. So I’d love to share with all of you the results of that time, energy and love that was spent and shared over the last few months that led us to now. Take a walk with me through your future Willy Street Co-op North!