The first phase on New Pioneer Food Co-op's possible expansion is in the works with several member forums scheduled to discuss the opening of a third location or the relocation of its Iowa City venue.
"The board will cover questions outlined in the brochure sent to all of our members and then answer any other questions members may have," said Jenifer Angerer, New Pioneer marketing manager.
The decision to open another location came after plans fell through to relocate its Iowa City store to a larger site.
New Pioneer leaders wanted to move the store from 22 S. Van Buren St. to another downtown location so it would be outside the floodplain and have room to grow. However, the Iowa City council awarded the property to developer Marc Moen, who plans to build a 20-story building with first-floor retail that includes a bowling alley and movie theater.
The co-op's general manager, Matt Hartz, said in earlier this month that it is still possible to relocate the Iowa City store but unlikely.
New Pioneer's 28,000 member-owners first must approve expansion plans. Ballots went out in mid-May and are due back June 14, with votes tallied by June 17, Angerer said.
If there is a yes vote, New Pioneer will begin conducting marketing studies to look at the potential growth in the different areas, investments that must be made and what the possible return would be.
It will begin the site selection process once the marketing studies are complete, she said. It is still too earlier to speculate where the third location could end up.
The board believes a new store could be supported anywhere in New Pioneer’s trade area of Iowa City, Coralville, Marion, North Liberty and Cedar Rapids. Cedar Rapids, where the co-op has 5,000 patrons, has been suggested as possible site.
Member meeting schedule: