Wednesday, May 07, 2008

It's official: Food Front to open in Hillsdale

Today, after months of anticipation, Hillsdale got the news it wanted to hear. It took the form of the following press release from the Food Front Cooperative.

I’ll have a detailed story about the Food Front decision in the next Hillsdale News, which I plan to post Friday morning.

In the meanwhile, here’s the release and two photos of Food Front’s NW Thurman Street store:

Food Front Cooperative Grocery has announced that it will open its second grocery store in the Hillsdale neighborhood of SW Portland. The store will be located in the former Wild Oats space in the Hillsdale Shopping Center and is expected to open in late summer.

A formal announcement will be made in front of the store on Monday, May 12, at 10 a.m. Hillsdale residents are encouraged to come out and show their support. They will also have the opportunity to sign up as member-owners.

The reopening of the grocery store by a local cooperative will fill the void left by the closing of the Wild Oats store last fall. Whole Foods bought the Wild Oats chain last year and almost immediately closed the Hillsdale location, much to the disappointment of many people in the neighborhood. (The store formally operated as Nature’s Fresh Northwest and previous to that, Lynch’s)

Community and Business Support

In the past few months hundreds of Hillsdale residents called and emailed Food Front saying how thrilled they would be to have Food Front in the shopping center. (See comments below.) Many expressed that they particularly liked that Food Front is a community-owned store, noting it would be receptive to neighborhood needs and would not sell out to a national chain.

Several Hillsdale business owners and leaders (including Mike Roach of Paloma Clothing, and president of the Hillsdale Business Association; Dan Baack, president of the Hillsdale Neighborhood Association; and Chef Greg Higgins of the restaurant, Higgins) and the Hillsdale Farmer Market manager Eamon Molloy also encouraged Food Front and have offered their support. Rick Seifert, editor of the Hillsdale News, covered the story extensively for many in the Hillsdale community.

Food Front is thriving and ready for growth

Food Front is thriving in its current location at 2375 NW Thurman St. It has deep roots in Northwest Portland, operating in several NW locations over 36 years (at 2375 NW Thurman St since 1987.) Food Front has been a leader in bringing organic, natural, and local foods to market and has a deep commitment to creating a sustainable regional food system, as well as being a community builder in NW Portland.

According to Food Front General Manager Holly Jarvis, opening a second store in Hillsdale was an easy decision: “A food cooperative is a perfect solution to fulfilling the need for a neighborhood grocery store and Hillsdale is a perfect neighborhood to support a community-owned store. Opening a store in such a vibrant, co-op friendly neighborhood will improve the long-term health and vitality of the co-op. In return, the Food Front can offer a neighborhood store that focuses on the unique needs of the community and won’t be sold or controlled by absentee corporate interests.”

Community Ownership makes the difference

Food Front is organized as a cooperative which means it is owned by the people who shop there and want to take the extra step of investing in the business and its mission.

Food Front Community Outreach and Marketing Director Tom Mattox said, “Portland residents have a lot of choices when it comes to buying local and natural foods. Hillsdale residents can ensure the vitality of their new store by signing up as member-owners and by shopping at the store after it opens. We invite Hillsdale residents to visit our Northwest store and then tell us what they would like to see offered in our Hillsdale store.”

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