Two weeks ahead of the Canyon County Co-op
's opening date Tuesday, Jan. 19, the 2,000-square-foot space was already shaping up into a grocery store. Non-perishable goods like baby care products, candy and wine were on the shelves, but a few gaps remained—a fresh-looking birch produce display sat barren in the center of the room and some refrigeration bins were empty in the back.
Just as the CCCO's wares have grown in variety, the store itself represents growing diversity for Treasure Valley shoppers. In late 2015, the Boise Co-op opened its second location
at the Village at Meridian—minutes by freeway from Nampa—but for CCCO Operations Manager Michael Worman, the more food cooperatives, the better.
“More co-ops, that’s great. It’s essentially supporting your community and supporting farmers and supporting vendors. I’d really like to see one pop up in every town,” he said.
CCCO doesn’t have local produce vendors—yet. Worman is still working with small Canyon County farmers ahead of the 2016 growing season. Meanwhile, the co-op has secured about 50 local vendors. The farthest-flung source Worman deals with directly is a coffee roaster in Coeur d’Alene. Other goods are provided by United Natural Foods.
“It’ll all grow as we grow,” Worman said.
Much remains on the CCCO’s drawing board. With its current dimensions, the cooperative doesn’t have room for a prepared foods section or a butcher shop. For now, adding those features isn’t a priority, but Worman said expanding the store’s square footage is possible and board members could vote on a deli soon.
Organizers initially anticipated selling 600-700 memberships at $65 apiece by opening day, but approximately 1,500 people had signed up by the end of the first week of January—with more memberships being sold every day.
“If they all showed up at one time, that’d be a little hard,” Worman said. “We have a really great membership group out there right now, and we’ll make it work.”