Providence’s Urban Greens Has Found a Home
The Fully Stocked Co-op Should be Open by Mid-2017
Finding a home for Urban Greens Food Co-op required many long seasons, so it’s fortunate that the folks at the Co-op are patient ... and stubborn. If all goes well, the fully stocked grocery store, a for-profit cooperative featuring locally sourced, organic and conventional products, should open in the summer or fall of 2017.
Rhode Island—based Bourne Avenue Capital Partners and New England Construction will develop and build a mixed-use building on an empty lot at 93 Cranston St., in Providence. The Co-op, which will lease the 7,000-square-foot ground floor, will be the sole commercial tenant, said Corey Auger, the Co-op’s Cooperative Council chair. He added that a groundbreaking this summer is “the best case scenario.”
This West End neighborhood is not Providence’s only food desert but this location is especially appealing. Before choosing the site, the Co-op, now with some 650 members, retained a food co-op consultant to determine the best of several potential venues. The site has a large parking lot and easy access to main roads—both critical for a grocery’s profitability and sustainability, said Auger. Just west of downtown Providence, the store will be readily accessible from Interstate 95 and Routes 6 and 10.
“It’s really attractive to be located where Westminster and Cranston [streets] join,” said Philip Trevvett, the Cooperative Council vice chair, “and it allows us to ... reach out to both [areas].” Noting that these streets seem to divide the neighborhood—the Westminster/Broadway corridor is far more affluent than Cranston Street—the Co-op will welcome nearby residents and others with cooking classes, food demos and more to build community.
Trevvett and Auger met through a long-running informal buying club whose members collectively purchase locally sourced products. This “buying together” activity, said Auger, turned into a crazy idea of building a grocery store!
For more information about membership and the buying co-op, and for progress on the new store, visit UrbanGreens.com.
(Images courtesy of Urban Greens Food Co-op.)
Nancy Kirsch is a freelance writer and editor in Providence. Visit her at NancyKirsch.com