Menomonie Market Exploring Block 7 for Eau Claire Store’s Expansion

There’s a lot of work that still has to be done to merge operations at our Menomonie and Eau Claire locations, but one of the questions asked most often by our Eau Claire shoppers during the process has been when we’ll be exploring options for the long-awaited expansion of their store. Well, we have an answer for you!

On Wednesday, October 20th, our General Manager Crystal Halvorson and Geoff Moeding of River Valley Architects, the developer who designed the mixed-use buildings near Phoenix Park about ten years ago, submitted a proposal to the City of Eau Claire’s Redevelopment Authority for the North Barstow Street parking lot (also known as “Block 7”) that would include a new home for our Eau Claire location. The city voted in favor of the proposal, and the city, Moeding, and our co-op will now have ninety days to negotiate a memorandum of understanding over the sale and development of the property.

In this plan, a new four-story, 109-unit apartment building with underground parking, two first-floor commercial units facing North Barstow Street, and a courtyard for outdoor cooking, gathering, and recreation would stand on one side of the lot. And then a new free-standing grocery store that would be 9,800 square feet in size, which is slightly smaller than our Menomonie store, and its 55 parking spaces would be on the other side. This space would serve as the new home of our 1,200-square-foot building currently located at 1117 South Farwell Street. After researching several options, this spot is the best-case scenario for relocation of that store because the building would be free-standing, there would be ample parking for our shoppers, and our part of the property would be owned by our organization, not rented from a landlord. And best of all, we would be able to bring more local groceries and goods to those who live downtown where currently few other options to grocery shop exist.

We are excited about this opportunity and are hopeful it will work out in our favor. But since this plan is still in its infancy stage, a lot can go awry. As progress is made, we will continue sharing updates whether they be good or bad, so keep an eye out. And if this ends up not being the right opportunity for us, we will continue seeking others until the day we get to proudly open the doors to a larger co-op in Eau Claire.

This article was originally published in the November/December 2021 issue of our bi-monthly newsletter, The Morsel. If you’d like to read more stories like this one and stay up to date on the latest co-op news and events, pick up a print copy in-store on your next grocery run or find more news on our website here.

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