New Pioneer Co-op sent the following today:
Iowa City, May 17, 2013 – Today, New Pi’s Board announces plans to pursue opening a third store.
Since receiving the Iowa City Council’s decision for the corner of College and Gilbert earlier this year (the Council chose a proposal that did not include New Pi), the New Pi Board has reflected on its position:
• New Pi is in sound financial shape with healthy profitability.
• New Pi continues to add new members at a steady pace.
• Both stores are operating at or near capacity with sales above the national average.
• Neither store can expand in its current location.
• The results of a preliminary market study of New Pi’s trade area, which extends from Iowa City to Cedar Rapids, are positive and show real opportunity for New Pi’s growth.
“We believe it is in New Pi’s collective best interest to continue to grow by opening a third New Pi store,” says New Pi Board President Sarah Walz. “It will allow us to provide more local and organic products to more people, and expand the market for our local producers,” she continues, and “a third store will allow us to better serve our current members and to reach new members.”
The Co-op has grown substantially in members and sales since the addition of the Coralville store – from $8.7 million in annual sales before opening the Coralville, store to $24 million in annual sales now – and this growth has benefited New Pi’s more than 120 local food producers and allowed New Pi to expand its educational programming in the community, which includes cooking and wellness classes, Earth Source community gardens, and New Pi’s Soilmates organic garden education (teaching classes in 24 area schools and starting 27 educational gardens in the last two years).
New Pi’s growth is guided by its mission statement: “New Pioneer’s mission is to serve the needs of its members and to stimulate the local agricultural production of natural and organic foods by providing a market for such foods.”
The Co-op has not identified a particular site, nor does it have a preferred location at this time. The New Pi Board plans to add a third store, OR, in the event that a viable downtown Iowa City site can be found, to relocate the Iowa City store within the immediate downtown area.
The latter option currently appears unlikely: “After four years of searching and planning,” Walz explains, “we know how extremely rare and complicated it is to find a suitable site in downtown Iowa City.” But the New Pi Board does not want to rule out the option.
The more likely direction is a third store. Where? Within New Pi’s current trade area – the area from which it currently draws strong customer support and sales, from east Iowa City through Coralville and north to Cedar Rapids and Marion.
Details are in the mail to all Co-op members.
New Pioneer Cooperative Society was founded as a natural foods cooperative grocer in Iowa City in 1971, and opened its Coralville branch in 2001. Today, New Pi is a thriving two-store food co-op with over 28,000 members. The stores provide local, organic, and natural foods to the Iowa City and Coralville area. New Pi is located at 22 S. Van Buren St. in Iowa City and at 1101 2nd St. in Coralville. Please visit www.newpi.coop for more information.
Thank you for sharing! ~genie