Since our relocation in January 2009, Seward Co-op has had tremendous success. Our growth has put the co-op in a very good position that affords us the opportunity to build for the future and serve more people in our community.
Over the past three years, the board, management and staff have had discussions about what our co-op will do next. We held focus groups with members and conducted a member survey. Out of these conversations we decided to remodel our store last fall to make it an exceptional shopping experience. We made these improvements so we would be well situated to explore the possibility of opening a second store in the next five years. We hired a firm to explore available real estate in South Minneapolis. We conducted a preliminary market study on several sites to determine site viability.
About a year ago, co-op staff started having conversations with the Carrot Initiative (CI). Their goal to attract a grocery store to the West Powderhorn neighborhoods aligns with the co-op's goal of a second store. The CI identified a site for us which meets many of our criteria for a second location. This site is at 38th Street and Clinton Avenue South and once housed the Greater Friendship Missionary Baptist Church. It is across the street from the Sabathani Community Center. We are calling it the “Friendship site.” We think that captures the spirit of the relationships we are building.
Our success since moving to the Franklin Avenue store four and a half years ago has put us in the position to expand access to the co-op and bring healthy food to an area with low access to fresh foods. We have continued to improve our existing store, but we have reached capacity. A second store will provide easier access to the co-op for members who live in other neighborhoods, as well as relieve some of the congestion at the current location.
We are early in the process, and held a community meeting on Tuesday, July 9 (see the Q&A from that meeting to the left). There is still significant work to be done. We will need to secure financing, to raise member capital as we did for our current building, and we need to go through design and site approval. It will be at least a year out before we will have a store built. Co-op members and the general public should stay abreast of developments related to this project by continuing to visit this webpage. As was done during our relocation five years ago, the co-op will participate in additional community meetings as the process moves forward. Thank you for your support of Seward Community Co-op! -- Sean Doyle, General Manager