Groundbreaking

Construction begins on bigger store

There was a great turnout at the groundbreaking for our bigger new store and the rain even held off during the ceremony. Board members, city officials, shoppers, neighbors, local officials and construction workers were all there as we broke ground with green shovels. The event celebrated the official start of construction.

“The city has been instrumental in the project, including a complex land use process, getting permits on time and also decades ago having a vision to turn the closed-down Astoria Plywood Mill (a worker’s co-op), into a new mixed use development to serve Astoria,” Co-op Marketing Director Zetty Nemlowill said, as she introduced City of Astoria Mayor Bruce Jones.

Jones congratulated all on the co-op team for the vision and hard work to reach this point.

“As mayor there’s no more important economic development priority for me than encouraging and facilitating growth of locally-owned businesses, especially those using locally sourced materials and benefitting our community,” Jones said.

Jones said it’s fantastic that those from the surrounding mixed neighborhood—with apartments, single family homes and senior living—will be able to walk to the grocery store. He then introduced our new board president, Andrea Larson Perez.

“This is the culmination of five years of due diligence that has been put on by board, staff and the community. At every turn we have invited participation, received it and incorporated everything that we’ve collected from all the stakeholders. I’m so proud of our organization,” Perez said.

Perez has been a co-op shopper, employee, board member, and now leads the board. Perez introduced our other board members in attendance before handing the microphone to our general manager, Matt Stanley, who she credits with working for the co-op for more than 10 years and seeing the expansion project through.

Stanley said it was an awesome turnout despite the weather and thanked the co-op board, staff, city staff public officials, developer partners, and investors. The co-op raised more than $1.6 million from its owners in just eight weeks.

“This is truly a grassroots project. It’s not unlike 45 years ago when a small group of people came together to build a small storefront to provide something that none of them as individuals could do. Even though we’re going to have a new and efficient building for the next evolution of the co-op, we’re still owned and directed by our community,” Stanley said.

The new facility will be about four times bigger than the current store, and Stanley says it will be more accessible and welcoming, increase impact to the local economy and local food system, and improve access to healthy food choices in the region. There will be more space to shop, expanded fresh departments and a full service deli with indoor-outdoor seating, and 48 parking spaces.

Stanley said R & H Construction out of Portland is overseeing the project and local contractors are going to complete most of the work including Big River Construction, Terry’s Plumbing, and Bogh Electric.

The new store will result in the creation of about 30 fulltime equivalent jobs with an average wage of $16 an hour with benefits. He encouraged the community to follow the co-op’s web page for future job postings as we get closer to an opening date, which he hopes, will be in time for the holidays.

Clad with hardhats and green shovels, Stanley joined board members, the mayor and city councilors and the construction superintendent to break ground.

“Here we go! New food co-op, best coop on the west coast coming up,” Stanley said.

The new store, an approximate 12,000 square foot building at 23rd and Marine Drive, will replace the current co-op store at 1355 Exchange. The store will remain open during construction and Stanley asked for the community’s support, by shopping and/or taking part in investment opportunities which are still available.

During the event, site surveying was happening to provide data needed to start excavation and site prep on Monday, so expect to see construction as you drive by and look for regular updates on social media and our web site.

Let’s build a store!

Our vision for a bigger new grocery store is becoming reality! We’ll be hosting a groundbreaking ceremony Friday, January 18 at 11 a.m. to celebrate construction beginning. The 12,000 square foot new store at 23rd and Marine Drive in Astoria’s Mill Pond Village, a redeveloped plywood mill, will quadruple our retail space for added services and provide needed amenities such as a loading dock.

Your co-op is a consumer-owned cooperative, governed by a board of directors and staff-run. We are a full-service grocery store and deli open to the public and known for sourcing from coastal farmers and other local producers. The additional space will broaden local economic opportunities and provide the community with more fresh, healthy food including an expanded organic produce section, meat and seafood department, ready-to-eat foods with indoor-outdoor seating and ample parking.

The new store will be a half mile east from our current location at 14th and Exchange Street, which remains open through construction.

“It is so fulfilling to see this vision—one that so many of us in the community have been working on—finally become a reality. We welcome all shoppers to visit us at our current location and be a part of this exciting new chapter,” General Manager Matt Stanley said.

The new store is part of our strategic plan and has been in the works for about five years. The process included extensive public outreach and survey of our owners and broader community, reflecting resounding support for expansion.

We raised more than $1.6 million in 8-weeks from owners via preferred shares. This successful capital campaign was instrumental in leveraging additional financing. The total project cost is about $9 million dollars, with the co-op and property owner/developer splitting the cost. For those wishing to invest, there are still opportunities.

Anyone interested is welcome to attend the groundbreaking. More information about the development including construction timeline will be announced at the event. Parking is available across the street in the parking lot of the former NAPA Auto Parts. The event is rain or shine so please bring a raincoat or umbrella if needed as there will be limited tent space.

Change for Community Update

Selling groceries might keep our store in business, but giving back to our community is at the heart of what we do. In May 2018 we launched a new giving program to reap big reward for local non-profits, Change for Community. It’s been a great success and due to your generosity—rounding up your purchase total, donating pocket change and reusable bag credits (beans)—we raised $7,359 in donations! There’s even more potential to make a positive impact in 2019 and beyond as we build a bigger new store!

A slight change in 2019 is that we’ll be merging the Beans for Bags program into Change for Community in order to simplify communications and bookkeeping. Nothing besides the name will change about our popular reusable bag incentive program. You’ll still get a bean worth a nickel for every reusable bag that you can donate to a local non-profit. Change for Community becomes a community giving and reusable bag incentive program.

Fun fact: Beans for Bags has incentivized the use of 144,045 reusable bags and supported 35 different community organizations with $7401 in donations since May 2015. The co-op will continue to incentivize reusable bags and raise funds for community with Change for Community.

Based on 2018’s success, and what we’ve learned from other food co-ops doing similar programs, we think Change for Community is a powerful tool for doing good. With your help, we can be the positive change for community!

We welcome your feedback and questions about this program or anything else happening at your co-op! Contact Marketing Director Zetty Nemlowill zetty@astoria.coop

Building Permits

We are excited to announce that building permits and external financing for the project have been secured and construction is set to begin early in the new year. Our delays this year associated with land use issues have coincided with increased costs in the construction industry. We’ve created a financial plan that accommodates for these increases and we are excited to build you what is sure to be one of the neatest food co-ops on the west coast. Stay tuned for details on groundbreaking festivities and a timeline for opening our new store!

Owner Appreciation Days

Save up to 20% on a shopping trip December 8-16

It’s a great time to stock up on household staples and splurge on specialty items and holiday gifts. Save up to 20% on a shopping trip December 8-16.

Here’s how it works:

  • Spend less than $100, get 10% off
  • Spend $100-$149, get 15% off
  • Spend $150 or more, get 20% off

You may have noticed we’re calling it “owner appreciation days” (not week). This is because we’ve added a couple extra days to make it easier for you to take advantage of the discount. We hope you like!

Enjoy special food and drink tastings with local producers and vendors. See our calendar for tastings times.

Please note: equity payments must be up-to-date to receive the discount. Discount applies to items in stock and does not stack with case discounts.

Not a co-op owner? No problem. You’re always welcome to shop. Click here to learn more about co-op ownership. It’s easy to join and you can start reaping the benefits during owner appreciation days!

Vitamins & Supplements Sale

Cold and flu season is here, so we’re having a sale to make it easier for you to stock up on wellness items! Thursday through Saturday November 8-10, save 20% on all vitamins and supplements, including probiotics, protein powders, fish oil, CBD products, homeopathic remedies, immunity boosters and more.

Everyone can shop and everyone can save!

Co-op Turkeys

Hurry, hurry, get your turkey while supplies last!

Your co-op has high quality turkeys at competitive prices. View our latest Fresh Deals flyer.

Please note: all turkeys are frozen and will need time to thaw in your refrigerator, roughly 24 hours for each 5 pounds. Learn more with these turkey roasting tips.

Turkey Options

Our turkeys are available first come, first served. We recommend purchasing your turkey as soon as possible, to ensure supply and to give you the size you want.

Organic Prairie Whole Turkeys: These certified organic turkeys roam freely with unlimited access to fresh air and sunshine. The birds are raised with the strictest organic production and humane treatment standards by family farmers are serious about the health of the land, animals and you. These are priced at 2.99/lb. This is a dollar lower than we found at the competition! Sizes range 10-18 pounds. Available now!

Diestel Bone-In Turkey Breasts: This farm raises its birds with fresh mountain water and clean air in the Sierra Nevada Foothills. Feed never contains fillers and the birds never receive growth stimulants or antibiotics. These all-natural, slow-growing turkeys have plenty of time and space to develop, resulting in juicy and tender meat. We had many requests for these last year and are happy to now be able to provide them for smaller holiday meals. Available starting November 16.

 

Owner Drive

October 8-22, 2018

Own a grocery store with us! Everyone is welcome to shop at our co-op, but there are benefits to ownership and during our owner drive there are extra incentives to join including 20% off a shopping trip, a chance to win a $200 co-op gift card, and a free tote.

October is National Co-op Month so it’s an especially important time to talk about what it means to be a co-op. We are a community-owned grocery store, a consumer-owned cooperative. Our shareholders are regular people just like you who elect a board of directors to oversee the store and staff carry out the day-to-day work.

Co-op  owners save 10% (or more) on shopping trips during owner appreciation weeks four times per year. They can also order cases of their favorite products and save 10%. All co-op profits are either invested in enhancing the store or shared with owners in profitable years.

By becoming an owner of the co-op, you contribute to a vibrant local economy that puts people before profits and keeps more of your dollar circulating within the community. Some examples include expanding the marketplace for locally-grown food and supporting good jobs. Learn more about the benefits of co-op ownership and how it works.

Join thousands of your friends and neighbors in owning Astoria Co+op. Click here for an application.

 

Annual Meeting Recap

Our annual meeting 2018 is in the books! Everyone is welcome to shop at the co-op, and anyone can become an owner of our grocery store. Part of community ownership includes an annual meeting to learn about the business and vote for board members who oversee it.

Our Board of Directors (from left): Venus Fromwiller, Allie Evans, Andrew Catalano, Andrea Larson-Perez, Todd Holm, Angela Sidlo, Matt Stanley (General Manager), Angi Perez, Emily Geddes, and Norma Hernandez

The election highlights:

In our General Manager’s annual report, Matt Stanley says our new store expansion is right on track for our five year strategic plan. It has involved a rigorous land use process, including a compromise to make neighbors happy in a way that works for the co-op. Now it’s time for engineering and financing. There’s still an opportunity to make a truly local investment, as there are $820,000 in preferred shares still available for those interested in investing. In October 2017 the co-op launched an owner investment campaign raising $1.6 million in 8 weeks.

Our co-op is weathering the challenge of more competition, thanks to your support. The new store will help the co-op to become a destination to even more shoppers, with increased visibility and more space for great food including locally-sourced products and a deli with hot food.

New store rendering at 23rd & Marine Dr. Astoria

“Based on research and evidence we have from other co-ops, we need to get out there and be visible to be relevant and be in this community for another 40 years,” Stanley said.

Our expansion timeline is fluid, but your co-op could break ground as soon as January and construction is expected to take about a year.

Some other points Stanley made:

  • 100% of staff are eligible for PTO, 89% eligible for health care, and $16/hr. is the average wage
  • Nearly no food is thrown in the trash: more than 8,000 pounds of produce scraps went to farmers in 2017 and 22,000 pounds of edible food was donated to the food bank
  • A program called Co+op Forest offsets our business travel emissions
  • We work with 50+ truly local producers from our coastal region and we’re excited to be able to expand our local offering in a larger venue
  • Community giving is growing as the store grows in sales including in-kind donations, large sponsorships focused on health and wellness, Beans for Bags and Change for Community
  • 72% of sales came from co-op owners in 2017 and 28% from other shoppers
  • Our co-op grew by 280 new owners in 2017 and we now have 4200

Stanley concluded his report by saying how excited he is to grow so we can provide a bigger community impact including access to more healthy and local food.

Click here for expansion updates.