Friendship Store Project Update

Since announcing the project in June, we have spoken with area neighbors, organizations, and businesses to learn more about the community and begin developing partnerships for the future. These conversations have informed the design process. In the past weeks we have been working with our design team and city planning staff to prepare the preliminary “site use” plan. This is the project’s first design milestone.

The site use plan is a balance between store operational needs, city code requirements, and what we believe will allow the co-op to be a good neighbor for many years to come. At a high level, the site plan proposes:

  • A building at the corner of 38th Street and Clinton Avenue. We will propose a small second floor for offices along the 38th Street side of the building.
  • Fifty-nine parking spaces in the adjacent parking lot at 38th Street and 3rd Avenue. This is a similar ratio of parking-to-building at our Franklin store.
  • Vacating the alley at 38th Street which will include a new “hammerhead” turnaround.

Download a PDF version of the preliminary site plan. The site plan is also available under Resources on the left.

Upcoming Events

We are planning a number of events for those who would like to learn more about the proposed project and Seward Co-op.

Open houses in October:
If you would like to speak to co-op staff about the project, please join us at one of the scheduled open houses to be held at 3821 3rd Avenue South. This is a property the co-op purchased in August in anticipation of acquiring additional properties in March of 2014. The open houses are scheduled from 1 to 3 p.m. on Tuesdays, and from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursdays throughout October. More information can be found here.

Tours of the Franklin store:
We invite you visit and see what the co-op is all about. Starting on October 26 at 11 a.m., LaDonna Redmond will lead Saturday tours of the Franklin store for anyone who is interested. Transportation from and back to the Friendship site (3821 3rd Avenue) will be provided. Please RSVP with LaDonna if you would like to attend the tour and/or need a ride (612-314-2016, Tour dates will be posted on our website as they become available.

Public Task Force meeting on the site design:
In anticipation of the new store, the Bryant and Central neighborhood groups have created a task force made up of representatives from area neighborhood organizations and residents. A public task force meeting to review the project plans is planned for Wednesday, Nov. 6. Location and time will be posted on the project page when available.

Employment Opportunities

This proposed new store is exciting for a number of reasons. A very important aspect is the potential for the creation of new jobs. Over the past four and a half years, the co-op has grown substantially. Prior to expanding into the current Franklin store the co-op employed 110 people. Today the co-op has a staff of over 220 people, 70 percent of whom are full time (30+hrs/week).

One of the compelling reasons for proposing a second store at the Friendship site is the potential of expanding access to living-wage jobs, co-op ownership, and healthful food. More than 20 percent of current staff, and 15 percent of the co-op’s owners, live within 1.5 miles of the proposed site. Employees who have worked at least 2,000 hours are eligible to earn, at a minimum, the City of Minneapolis’ living wage, which is currently $12.45 per hour.

The proposed second store at the Friendship site has the potential to create many new jobs and many new opportunities, both within the organization and in the community. One of the many new partnerships we are building is with Hired, a workforce development organization. Hired will assist us in supporting local residents who apply for current openings at the Franklin store and prepare for future job openings at the Friendship site.

For those interested in working at Seward Co-op, please visit our careers page. It lists all current openings at the Franklin store, outlines employee benefits, and has an online application submission form. Job openings and applications are also available at the Franklin store at 2823 E. Franklin Avenue.

Project Timeline

A project of this scale and complexity can take many months to complete and requires its phases be completed in a carefully coordinated sequence. The proposed timeline for the new store is below.

Design: September 2013 to April 2014
Neighbor rezoning consent signatures: October to November 2013
City approvals: December 2013 to May 2014
Capitalization and financing: October to March 2014
Construction: July 2014 to July 2015
Job fair: Spring 2015