News & Blog

The Latest on 93 Cranston Street

Preliminary mock-up of 93 Cranston Street, by Bourne Avenue Capital Partners.

Site Update:

The first phase of Environmental work on the site has been completed! This fall crews performed necessary soil removal, so that we’re now ready to begin construction! We have also completed work with our store design specialist on the store’s layout and fixture plan!

Urban Greens Food Co-op will be locating our future grocery store at 93 Cranston Street, the site of the old Louttit Laundry building. The co-op will be the anchor commercial tenant in a mixed use development including 39 residential units--8 of which will be "low-income" housing and 31 will be for "work force" housing. Urban Greens will be the sole commercial tenant, occupying 8000 sq ft of ground floor retail space in one of the two buildings.

Store Location Announcement & Celebration

General Co-op Mockup from Nicole Klimek

Urban Greens Food Co-op’s Cooperative Council and Site Committee will announce the future location of the Co-op’s much anticipated retail grocery store, in a celebration and informational session at the Columbus Theatre on Thursday, December 3rd. Together with the project developer, the Council and Site Committee will unveil initial plans, including preliminary building design and store layout, as well as presenting information about the Co-op’s funding structure and overall project timeline. This will be an opportunity for the Co-op’s member-owners, as well as the general public and local press, to ask questions about the future grocery store and learn about the next steps in the process to getting the doors open.

The evening will feature food, drink, music, special guests and celebration from 6:30-8:30pm, with the formal announcement, speaking program, and Q&A beginning at 7:00pm. The event is free and open to the public, but an RSVP is suggested. Join the Facebook Event.

This announcement comes after a multi-year search and planning effort by the Co-op’s Cooperative Council & Site Committee to secure a viable site for Providence’s first consumer-owned retail grocery store.

Founded by a group of residents on the west side of Providence seeking increased access to healthy foods in their neighborhood, Urban Greens Food Co-op now has 600+ member-owners, and is working to open a full-service consumer-owned grocery store in the West End of Providence, which will offer neighborhood residents, as well as consumers across the city and state, the opportunity to shop at a community-owned and invested grocery store. The innovative ownership model of a consumer co-op will ensure that local sourcing is a strong priority, and that profits stay in Rhode Island. The store will help fill a missing link in Rhode Island’s growing food economy by providing local farmers and producers a new, stable, year-round sales opportunity, and significantly increasing the consistent availability of local products to consumers. The store will provide and promote local, healthy, affordable, and culturally appropriate food options. The Co-op will support the local economy by creating new jobs, supporting local farmers and producers, and reinvesting its profits locally. Urban Greens Food Co-op looks forward to celebrating this milestone in its progress with the Rhode Island community!

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Thank You, Delia!

Since 2013, Project Manager Delia Kovac has worked with the Urban Greens Cooperative Council to serve the membership, improve infrastructure, invigorate outreach, and manage communications.  She has signed up hundreds of members and organized countless events. As the summer ended, Delia ended her term with the co-op to begin an exciting new opportunity as the Assistant Director of Development for Sophia Academy, a nondenominational, independent middle school for girls in grades 5-8 from low income homes in Providence.

This comes as Urban Greens moves towards the next stage in our staffing development by preparing to hire a General Manager.  As we work towards the final agreement on the site and secure financing, it becomes crucial to have an experienced retail grocery manager involved in the myriad of decisions that need to be made.  We are currently in the process of posting the position, our goal is to complete the hiring process by early spring.  For Co-op start-ups, general managers are typically hired 9-12 months prior to opening. That makes this position a clear priority for us as we continue to make progress and forge ahead.

We wish Delia well on her new adventure and can't wait to hear about all the great things she'll no doubt accomplish!  Thank you, Delia, for all your service to the Co-op!

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A Look Ahead

Greetings co-op and community members!

It's been awhile since we've given a project update. Sometimes we get overly bogged down in the nitty-gritty, forgetting to come up for air, and even our monthly newsletters are focused only on the details. However, we realize it's important to pause, breathe, and let you know what's happening. We are committed to providing you with more regular communications regarding overall progress so that you're kept in the loop of everything that's going on.

This summer was filled to the brim.  As many of you know, we began working with a developer on our primary site, located on the west side of Providence.  We began the year working on an initial Letter of Intent (LOI) that was signed and agreed upon in March, but it did not include any language around site announcement.  As we continued to meet with the developer, we quickly realized that our relationship was outgrowing that initial LOI and we both agreed to draft a new one. Following this agreement, we will finally be able to announce our location!

In addition to developer negotiations, we've been working with our top vendors to build relationships early and outline buying agreements for when we open.  It's exciting to speak with the people who will help us outfit the store with products tailored to our customers.  They're just as excited as we are to see the project move forward.

Finally, the biggest ticket item we've been working on this year is financing. We've held several meetings with the Cooperative Fund of New England, an institutional lender who specifically lends to co-ops.  They are thrilled to be working with us as our main lender.  Our goal is to apply for financing in early 2016.  The second stream of capital will come in the form of a Member Loan Program / Direct Public Offering. This will be a key way for member-owners to participate in the next steps of opening the co-op's doors. We've contracted with a leading financial strategist, Cutting Edge Capital, to help draw up the legal documentation for this program. We're about halfway through the process, which will continue through the remainder of the year.

Other things we're working on: General Manager Hiring program, overall store programming, development logistics, organizational infrastructure, and many many other things.

With all that said, there's a ton of work ahead for us.  Now is certainly the most exciting time to get involved.  There is no part too small, so if you're interested in learning about ways to pitch in, send us an email or attend a monthly council meeting.  There is also a link further down to fill out a volunteer questionnaire.

Hope to see you around! Go Co-op!

-Corey Auger
Council Chairperson

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10/20 Knife Skills Demo

Cutting Carrots

Urban Greens Food Co-op members Chef Norbert Klotz and Chef Deb Fernandez of My Chef Lara will guide participants in finding the correct grip and proper positioning for the best cuts, and explain fundamental cuts to increase speed and ensure consistency. Participants will learn how to cut onions and other vegetables most effectively, as well as precise cuts such as julienne and brunoise.

Participants are asked to bring a 6”, 8” or 10” chef knife if they have one, otherwise one will be provided.

*Class size is limited to 10 and registration is required.


Urban Greens Member-Made Food Demo: Knife Skills Class

with Chef Norbert and Chef Deb of My Chef Lara


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

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