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Co-op Board Votes "Yes" on Willy North

 

The northside of Madison will be getting a new grocery store this summer: Willy North! The Board of Directors approved of us the Co-op opening its third store in that location.

Thank you to all who provided suggestions, concerns and support regarding our proposal to open a store here. In meetings, emails, phone calls and in-person discussions, one of the questions that keeps coming up is: "how can I help make Willy North a success?" Here are a few ways:

  • Send us your grocery receipts: we’re asking all prospective Willy North shoppers to send or drop off their grocery receipts from other stores - it’ll show us what you might buy at our new store and how much you pay for it. You can drop them in the Customer Comments box at the Owner Resources Area at Willy East or West; email them to us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the subject “Receipt”; or direct messaging us on Facebook. If you are part of an organization that would collect them for us, please let us know!
  • Email us with ideas or concerns: an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. will go to the whole project team.
  • Become a Co-op Owner: if you’re not a Willy Street Co-op Owner, you can become one today for as little as $10 (or $4, if you qualify for certain financial assistance programs). Being an Owner gives you the same benefits at all stores, so if you sign up at Willy East or Willy West, you can walk into Willy North like you own the place - because you will! You can find out more information, including Owner benefits, here.
  • Consider buying an Owner Bond: on May 9th we plan to start selling $500 Owner Bonds to help finance the opening of Willy North. Our goal is $1.5 million, which is a lot, but we raised $1 million in 39 days to open Willy West in 2010.

As we have more information, we will post on our site, on social media, and in the Owner Resources Area at Willy East and Willy West. Below is the press release that we've sent out to the media immediately after the meeting:

Willy Street Co-op Board Votes in Support of Northside site

MADISON, Wis. (April 26, 2016) – Local grocery cooperative Willy Street Co-op is pleased to announce its Board of Directors voted tonight to support opening a new, third location at 2817 N. Sherman Avenue, the site of Pierce's Northside Market. Willy Street Co-op owners had approved pursuing a third retail site in August, 2014.

“Willy Street Co-op is already aiming to quickly open the door at its Northside location this summer, then host an official grand opening event which is tentatively scheduled for September, 2016,” co-op Communications Director Brendon Smith said.

In September of 2015, the Northside Planning Council (NPC) learned the lease at Pierce’s Northside Market would end in 2016. The NPC met with several community leaders and Alder Rebecca Kemble to research the possibility of opening a grocery cooperative. It was during those exploratory stages last fall, that NPC approached Willy Street Co-op, already a popular, established neighborhood food cooperative carrying organic, local and conventional products.

Following several rounds of discussions between the NPC and the co-op, including a concern the Northside could be without access to a nearby food store, Willy Street Co-op decided to investigate the option of opening its third store in that neighborhood.

"This location is conveniently located for some of our owners, and it has the features we require for a store — it’s in a residential neighborhood, it’s accessible by foot, by bike, bus or car, and there’s a need for a grocery store in the area," Smith said.

Co-op owners and the Northside community were involved throughout the entire process, co-op General Manager Anya Firszt said.

“The co-op will now be holding a series of meetings throughout the Northside,” Firszt said. “We are planning to announce an owner bond drive with a goal of raising $1.5 million, along with sharing what we are planning inside the store, asking customers what kind of products they’d like to see, and answering any questions. We look forward to being an active part of the Northside neighborhood.”