Idaho Finds

It Takes a Village to Build a Co-Op

By Jessica Murri / Photography By Guy Hand | December 15, 2015
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The Original Boise Co-Op

Iconic North End grocer opens second location

Food co-ops typically thrive in neighborhoods. Though the Boise Coop has been a staple of the North End for four decades, the natural and organic grocery store opted to open a second location in the sprawling Village at Meridian.

The decision came after a real estate search committee spent years looking for the perfect place—choosing between South Boise, Nampa, Meridian and Eagle.

“Co-ops are usually neighborhood stores, but we feel like there’s a big demand for more natural foods out in the Meridian area and we feel confident that we can really serve the demand for that community,” said Store Manager Saul Seyler.

The new Co-op is even bigger than the North End location, with 15,700 square feet of retail space. It also includes a large wine selection and an even larger produce area. The Village store also offers wine tastings, cooking classes and educational lectures.

Seyler says building a new co-op involved figuring out how to appeal to a new demographic.

“We know that we’re going to have to attract a lot of new customers out there that don’t necessarily know the Boise Co-op,” Seyler said. “Right now, we have the luxury of a lot of folks in Boise and the North End that have known us for years. We have to be able to create a new shopping experience to get new people hooked on coming to the Boise Co-op.”

Seyler says the new store’s design gets away from long, straight aisles and works to separate each section—whether it’s wine or wellness products—to create “shopping pockets.”

At the same time, Seyler promises that the new shop won’t stray too far from the Co-op’s core values.

“We may have shoppers coming in from out there that want to buy a 12-pack of Coca Cola, but that’s not a road we’re going to go down,” he said. “We’re going to stick to what we know well and do best.”

The Boise Co-op’s new storefront is located at the north end of the Village at Meridian, across from Julius M. Kleiner Memorial Park. The grand opening took place Nov. 13–15.

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