Locals who were saddened on July 18, 2016, when the Central Co-op on 6th Avenue closed its doors have reason to celebrate now—almost four years later. What is that they say about better late than never?

A co-op is a store that brings together local food producers, farmers and others to create a sustainable local food economy, including the shoppers. The Central Co-op is owned by both the people who work there, but also by shoppers. Anyone can become a member of the Co-op by purchasing a share for $100. Members help support the Co-op, but also get discounts, coupons, access to owner-only events and participation in governing of the Co-op.

Central Co-op Tacoma Interior
Central Co-op is brand spanking new! Photo courtesy: Central Co-op

If what you seek is locally grown and produced foods, sustainably grown foods, ethically produced or healthy foods and products, then this is the place for you. Shoppers can expect lots of produce, dairy products, natural supplements and body care items, seafood and meat, a deli, bulk foods, and plenty of foods for those with dietary restrictions.

On June 15, 2019, Central Co-op will open the doors at its new location at 4502 N. Pearl Street, and it has a celebration in store for all the Tacoma residents who have been eagerly anticipating the co-operative supermarket’s return.

Some may wonder why Central Co-op left Tacoma in the first place. Due to unsuccessful negotiations with the landlord at the co-op’s previous 6th Avenue location, the decision to leave was made unhappily, but with the intention of finding a new location to continue serving the loyal locals who had been shopping at the 6th Avenue location for years.

“Our new Tacoma store was built with a focus on community and we’re so excited to open the doors to everyone,” says Central Co-op CEO, Catherine Willis Cleveland. “As part of our commitment to strengthening the Washington economy, our buyers work for the Tacoma store specifically, and have stocked our shelves with many local favorites. We believe that growing these local relationships ensures that exciting and relevant products are available to our shoppers, and help us support a robust economy of small businesses.”

If the hundreds of comments on Central Co-op’s Facebook page are any indication of neighborhood residents’ anticipation, you can expect a full house on Saturday, June 15, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the store officially opens its doors.

A grand opening ceremony will take place first thing, followed by six whole hours of festivities.

Arrive with an empty tummy, as the Co-op will provide free samples of some of the co-op’s goodies, many made by local purveyors of yumminess.

And you may also want to bring your dancing shoes, as you will be able to jam to some gnarly tunes. You can also expect entertaining games, and exciting giveaways and fun face painting.

Central Co-op Reopening
Central Co-op employees have fun while stocking shelves. Photo courtesy: Central Co-op

In addition to the face painting, your kiddos get to play with other kids—goats that is. Who are we kidding? Everyone is going to want to play with these rambunctious quasi-rams.

“One of the things that has been especially exciting for our team has been hearing personal stories from people in the neighborhood about how much having a grocery store on this corner again will mean to them,” says Tacoma Store Director, Victor Fontaine, who had also worked at the 6th Avenue location.

He adds, “I always dreamed of a store where we could have the resources to have an even bigger impact in our community. I’m excited to be a part of the team bringing all these ideas to life.”

And the community is just as eager to resume shopping at the beloved store. Says Hilltop resident, Janice Seymour, “I had moved to Tacoma from Olympia just a few months before the co-op left and I have not been able to find somewhere to my groceries where people and employees care so much. I’m stoked that it is returning and, believe, I will be there on Saturday with my recyclable bags ready to shop.”

The Co-op will be offering discounts throughout the week in both its Tacoma and Seattle stores.