Alder Syed Abbas
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
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Alder Abbas’ Blog
Willy Street Co-op to look to replace Pierce's
Below is a press release from Willy Street Co-Op about their negotiations with Pierce's and the Northside TownCenter. I want to thank District 18 Alder Rebecca Kemble, who has extensive experience working with cooperatives, who has been engaging with Willy Street Co-Op and city economic development staff about this transition.
For Immediate Release
Willy Street Co-op in talks on Pierce's Northside site
MADISON, Wis. (January 25, 2016) – Local grocery cooperative Willy Street Co-op is pleased to announce that it is in talks to open a new location at 2817 N. Sherman Ave., the current site of Pierce's Northside Market. To date, the co-op has not signed a lease on the site and the plans are not finalized. Willy Street Co-op owners approved pursuing a third retail site in August 2014.
The end date of Pierce's lease on this site has not been announced, but it will likely be early this summer. With talks ongoing, an opening date for a possible Willy Street Co-oplocation is not yet set. If a deal is reached, the co-op would aim to open at the site as soon as possible, according to co-op Communications Director Brendon Smith.
The Northside Planning Council learned of the lease's ending in September 2015 when it appeared that no other grocer was forthcoming. The organization met with several community leaders and Alder Rebecca Kemble to convene a grocery steering team to explore the possibility of opening a grocery cooperative. A similar organizing effort had been undertaken in 2003 and resulted in the founding of the Northside Farmers' Market. Baraboo-based Pierce's opened its store at the site in 2006.
During the exploratory stages in October, NPC approachedWilly Street Co-op, a popular local food cooperative that carries organic, local and conventional products, about helping support a new North Side grocery cooperative. The co-op pledged to help as it was able. However, with such a short time frame to raise the large amount of capital required to start a new grocery cooperative, the challenge began to seem insurmountable. It became apparent that unless a new owner was identified, the North Side could possibly be without food access for a significant period of time. NPC then approachedWilly Street Co-op about opening their own store there instead, and the co-op is now investigating that option.
"This location would be conveniently located for some of our owners, and it has the features that we would 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," said Smith.
If the process goes forward, the co-op would engage and seek input from the co-op owners and the North Side community, said co-op General Manager Anya Firszt.
"We enjoy engaging with the community and always look forward to hearing from area residents in any expansions we undertake," said Firszt.
ABOUT WILLY STREET CO-OP
Since Willy Street Co-op's inception in 1974, its owners have invested over $2,000,000 through Community Shares and the co-op has created several innovative programs including theCommunity Reinvestment Fund and a partnership with theFood Enterprise and Economic Development Kitchens Project(FEED) to improve access to local food and agricultural production.
The co-op now has over 32,000 owners and two locations, in Madison and Middleton. Willy Street Co-op is Madison's largest consumer-owned neighborhood grocer, offering organic, locally produced, and conventional foods. The co-op believes that a sustainable local economy is vital to the health and well-being of everyone in the community.
Anyone can shop at the co-op and everyone is welcome to join and become an owner. For more information on Willy Street Co-op, please visit www.willystreet.coop.
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