Judging from Central Co-op’s Facebook page, Tacoma is eager for its food co-op to return.
The merged co-op vowed to have a new place for members to shop in Tacoma, and announced the site of a new store in May.
Now it’s busy with its close to 14,000-square-foot storefront in the works at 4502 N. Pearl St., formerly the site of Bargain World.
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We checked in with Susanna Schultz, Central Co-op’s marketing director, for a quick Q&A about the store.
Her responses are below:
Q: Are there any updates for Tacoma co-op?
A: The landlord is working on finishing his portion of the work on the site. The parking lot entrances have been adjusted to meet city code, the roof is done, the heating/cooling system has been brought up to date and the work on the facade should be wrapping up shortly.
Q: What new features or changes at the Tacoma site can people expect?
A: Our store on Pearl Street will have several new features that we know our members have long wished for, especially an in-house, fresh-made deli; classroom and seating areas (inside and outside); and a fresh meat and seafood counter.
Q: It looks on the store blog like you are having another preview? (An earlier one was in August.)
A: We will be hosting an open-house style event in the parking lot (noon to 3 p.m.) Oct. 14. People are welcome to stop by to learn about the co-op, suggest products, get info about working with us, see the plans for store layout — and if site conditions allow, take a look inside the building.
Q: And there's a new store manager?
A: Last month, our CEO announced the hiring of the store manager for that site — Victor Fontaine. He has a long history with our organization, starting with the Tacoma Food Co-op when the Sixth Avenue store first opened.
Q: Any firm opening date to announce?
A: The exact date will depend so much on the permitting and construction process, so unfortunately we still do not have a firm opening date. We are still on track for an early 2018 opening.
Q: How is the store interior work going?
A: We expect to be starting our work on the interior of the store in mid-October. We are still in the bidding process. We have a project manager who will oversee that side of the work beginning Oct. 16.
Meanwhile, the Seattle branch of the co-op this week announced results of a study of its economic impact, done by Civic Economics, a financial analysis agency.
“The cooperative returns more than 52 percent of its revenue back to the local economy,” Central Co-op noted in a news release highlighting the results.
“We wanted a way to measure how well our actions prove our values,” Central Co-op CEO Garland McQueen said in the release. “The results from this study put tangible numbers to what we’ve suspected all along — our small co-op store has an outsized impact on the Washington economy.”
“Central Co-op first opened its doors in 1978, and concern for community has been an important part of the organization’s decision-making process for the past 39 years,” the co-op said in its release. “The organization will extend the same mission to its new store in Tacoma.”