The Co-op Natural Foods starts construction, plans rebrand

March 9, 2020

The front of The Co-op Natural Foods will be the first part of the store to get a new look – followed soon by a new name.

Construction on the outside of the grocery store at 18th Street and Minnesota Avenue started this week.

“We had to strip everything off, so the crew can come in and sand and putty and fix some trim and fill in holes and prep the building for paint and a brand-new logo, brand-new name, new awnings, new pylon signs on the street level and all that fun stuff,” general manager Patrick Sayler said.

The new name is scheduled to be announced later this month, but it won’t be a great departure, he said.

“The new name and logo is a co-branding effort with National Co-op Grocers,” he said. “They created a brand for co-ops to use and basically manage business services for co-ops around the country. It’s licensing the co-op logo from them, and they create a unique one for your town.”

The Co-op first became a member of the National Co-op in 2014 and was accepted nine days before a fire destroyed its previous location.

“So our association with them had a huge effect on our ability to reopen the store in such a short period of time and a lot to do with our ability to recover from that tragedy,” Sayler said.

The national organization also is helping with The Co-op’s planned expansion, which will add 8,000 square feet in an adjacent former medical office.

“It’s store design, marketing, financial preparation; they help with projections and marketing,” Sayler said.

The new addition is scheduled to start construction this summer. The plan is to double the retail space and add several deli programs, upgrades to equipment, indoor seating and expanded offerings across the store.

First, though, more fundraising is needed.

A second capital campaign is scheduled for April with the goal of raising $500,000 from co-op owners. That follows a campaign last year that was trying to raise $1.5 million.

“The expansion is happening. It’s really going to come down to what we’re able to offer once we reopen,” Sayler said.

“We’ll be bigger, but we may not be able to have as many programs in our deli or quite the offerings we hoped for or as beautiful of a patio, that type of things. This next capital campaign will inform the direction of what we do inside the store – if we need to value engineer and go more modest or make our dream store the way co-op owners have wanted it.”

The capital campaign will have the same investment structure as the previous one and the same return on investment, but dividends will accrue on a slightly different time frame.

“I think we’re an extremely interesting investment opportunity and a much more local community-based investment opportunity where you can actually see where the money is going,” Sayler said.

The goal is to be done with construction by Thanksgiving, “but it’s subject to a lot of factors,” he said.

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The Co-op Natural Foods starts construction, plans rebrand

The front of The Co-op Natural Foods will be the first part of the store to get a new look – followed soon by a new name.

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