A new friend stopped over on Sunday to chat. He’s building a new house nearby on North Baltimore and 47th. Monday was a beautiful day, so Peg and I decided to go for a walk. We looked around the construction site and then headed to the site of the new Central-Co-op. We planned to look in the windows to see how ready and close they were to opening. Years ago we used to shop at the co-op at Sixth and Junett. These are the same people.
We found work in progress and were greeted by Michael Valente, the project manager. He not only let us walk around, but gave us a guided tour. The place is huge. After the tour we decided to scrap the walk and instead drove to Sixth Avenue for ice cream cones.
“Michael has 25 years of experience in the grocery industry, working his way up through every store department. He has worked extensively in both conventional and natural/organic markets, operating single and multi-store locations. As a consultant, Michael used his extensive knowledge of store management to help troubled stores and cooperatives achieve profitability. This insight has also provided Michael the ability to design and build stores with both the shopper and the staff in mind to provide the best working and shopping environment possible. His experience in the grocery industry and with co-ops makes him ideally qualified in his role as Project Manager.” – centralcoop.coop/page.php?PID=1045
The store will have a food bar and a community room, where members can have meetings. The community room, which for many years was a hair salon/barber shop, looks like it would be a good place to enjoy the neighborhood view, sip a warm brew, and eat the different food selections from their deli.
Peg’s big concern was the bulk foods area. She loves grocery stores that offer bulk purchases of nuts, spices, and interesting food items. She loved the layout and all the bulk bins waiting to be filled. The place reminds us of Main & Vine in Gig Harbor, which closed, unfortunately.
Besides explaining that Mike is getting more and more interested in his Italian heritage, he was also excited about the store’s coffee selections, honey, teas, and fresh fruit. As a co-op they listen to member requests and try to fill those demands. The co-op plans to stock in-season local produce.
The new Central Co-op on Pearl and North 46th is a fantastic location. With all the condo building at Point Ruston and the traffic to Pt. Defiance and the Vashon ferry, they should be very successful. The Co-op has a grand opening on the 15th of June. To start, their regular hours will be from seven in the morning until ten at night. If the customers are only half as excited about the co-op as Mike is, then it will be a complete success. It has been decades since we’ve had a large neighborhood grocery store in this area. After the fifteenth of June I doubt we’ll ever see a nearly empty parking lot again here on North Pearl.