Expansion Update: Design Review

By Matt Stanley/General Manager

On May 3rd at 5:30 p.m. at Astoria City Hall, the Astoria Design Review Committee will review the design of the building to ensure it meets local design standards. This is again another public forum where your support is much needed!

We know that our community is excited to see ground break on our new store. Every day a friendly customer asks “when do you break ground?” We have come so far and spent several years on our journey toward realizing the co-op our community and co-op leadership envisions; ample parking, expanded produce, a full service deli with hot food and lots of seating, an expanded offering of meat, an improved work environment for our staff and more. It only seems reasonable that customers and staff would be wondering “when will we start to see the physical manifestation of all our work?” Even in my own work carrying the project forward I must constantly remind myself of a Lao Tzu quote; “Nature doesn’t hurry yet everything is accomplished.”

The work toward our new store really is a “little engine that could” story. Consider how competitive natural and organic foods are these days. Consider the resources at the disposal of our competitors. To do things the cooperative way is to move slower and more conservatively, to listen to our members and the community at-large along the way, and ultimately to make informed and consensus-based decisions that ensure long-term success of our business. Our collaboration with over 150 food co-ops across the country goes a long way toward supporting our local efforts too (again, cooperative power at work).

We’ve surpassed some major hurdles toward making our new co-op a reality. These include everything from finding an ideal site, connecting with a developer-partner who believed in the project, raising our member-sourced capital, securing a necessary zone change from the city, and receiving a conditional approval for the outside lending needed to complete the project. And yes, where we find ourselves today is the culmination of several years of work. More work lies ahead!

Our most imminent hurdle is one more public approval necessary before we can complete engineering of the building and seek building permits. On May 3rd at 5:30 p.m. at Astoria City Hall, the Astoria Design Review Committee will review the design of the building to ensure it meets local design standards. This is again another public forum where your support is much needed! Please show up to help us demonstrate that this project has broad community interest and that our public representatives should make haste in helping us get shovels in the ground.

So how do I answer the daily ask, “When do you break ground?” If we get Design Review approval on May 3rd we can proceed to permitting and potentially break ground this fall. 8-12 months after breaking ground we’ll open our new store. The timeline will remain fluid due to the complexity of the project and the inevitable surprises that will occur along the way. We will continue to keep you updated on our progress. Of course, don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have concerns, ideas, or questions. Your continued support and cheer leading along the way is invaluable to our cooperative spirit. Our persistence and strong vision mean we’ll be saying hi to each other in our new co-op digs before we know it!


Matt Stanley, Co-op GM

6 thoughts on “Expansion Update: Design Review

  1. Rooting for the long time and respected Astoria Coop, that serves folks across the River in . Washington, Clatsop Co, and even folks in. Manzanita and Nehalem! I have been a member since 1975, except after my divorce and move to Texas. On my return, I started all over icontributing my annual dues. The locally grown organic produce is exceptional., as are the staff who are so helpful and so happy to work for the Coop. Good luck! Thanks for truly caring about the health of your customers. Si cerely, Jeanie McLaughlin, Cannon Beach

  2. I, for one, am not for the expansion. Many years ago, when I first joined the Co-op, members received a discount of 10% once a month. When that stopped, I was told that the Co-op couldn’t afford to do that anymore. If we have the money to build a “bigger and better store,” then I want my monthly discount back, instead of the measly 10% discount that’s now given each quarter.

    • First, we’re not funding expansion through sales. Our discount expanses were hurting the bottom line and our business couldn’t survive long-term like this. We’ve been working to make everyday prices more affordable and more sales equals more buying power which equates to lower prices.

  3. Will show up to help you guys..all the way from the other side of the River. Very supportive of your mission!

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