As you probably know, Willy Street Co-op Owners approved pursuing a third retail site in an August 2014 vote. Reasons for searching for a new site included:
offering a local grocery choice using the cooperative model to a new neighborhood
providing easier access to a Co-op store for more Owners
helping support more local and organic vendors (per our mission statement)
helping a neighborhood that would otherwise be without a grocery store
being proactive about competition
We investigated sites that matched our criteria, which included serving the needs of current Owners, serving the needs of the community (including be accessible by foot, bike, bus and car), serving the needs of employees, being economically sustainable, being environmentally sustainable and being a cornerstone of a vibrant community.
In October of last year, the Northside Planning Council approached Willy Street Co-op about helping support a new grocery cooperative in the current location of Pierce’s Northside Market. In line with our history of helping other grocery co-ops, we pledged to help with this project as we were able. Because of challenges with organizing necessary funding in a very short time, the Northside Planning Council then approached Willy Street Co-op about taking over the Pierce’s location. We had been in negotiations with one of the other possible site options, but this opportunity presented itself as a priority to investigate as well.
If we were to open a store in this location, the Co-op would aim to be closed for a minimal amount of time (although no target opening date has been set). It's not yet clear how many positions the Co-op will need to fill at the site; both Pierce’s employees and current Co-op staff will be encouraged to apply. We recognize that these employees have a strong connection to the neighborhood and the customers who shop at this store. The Co-op would plan to offer a product mix that includes both the full line of local, natural and organic products it is known for, as well as an increased number of conventional products similar to what Pierce's had provided.
Which brings me to today. We are in a conversation with the landlord of this site. Proper due diligence needs to be performed before Board approval. If the Board chooses to sign a lease for this site, we will further reach out to and engage with Owners and the Northside community. We will keep you posted as this progresses! Please watch our website, Facebook, Twitter and signs in the store for updates. If you have questions, concerns or support to share, let us know at our .