Photo by Isaac Bonnell
The economy was much better when the Community Food Co-op broke ground on its second store in December 2007. And now, on the eve of the Jan. 15 opening, times are still good for the grocer: Sales at the downtown store are robust and the co-op just hired more than 70 new employees for the Cordata store.
A true sign of the times, though, nearly 400 people attended the two-day hiring fair, said general manager Jeff Voltz. Including the new additions, the co-op now employs 245 people.
“Regionally and nationally, co-ops are either expanding into larger facilities or adding stores,” Voltz said. “One of the things we’re most excited about with this location is the opportunity to serve residents on the north side of Bellingham, throughout the county, and shoppers from southern B.C.”
The co-op has done local surveys that show a high level of awareness about the new store, which could translate into high customer traffic, said Voltz.
Plans for the co-op’s second location began in 2001 and the organization bought the land in Cordata in 2005. The two-story, 21,000-square-foot store will include administrative offices and classrooms and is designed to meet LEED certification. The retail space will be about 3,000 square feet larger than the downtown store.
“For us, it’s always been about advocating for healthier, locally grown, sustainably produced food options,” Voltz said in a press release. “Our hope is that our presence in the Cordata-Guide Meridian neighborhood will encourage more residents to become part of building a stronger local economy.”