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Amazing Grains Co-op plans to vacate downtown location

A natural foods co-op that occupied a downtown Grand Forks storefront plans to move to another location if it pursues opening a restaurant, but the board wants to gather more information on its future.

Amazing Grains Co-op members listen in on a Tuesday board meeting as they discuss selling store equipment and how to handle possible ventures for a restaurant. Amazing Grains closed its downtown Grand Forks store last weekend. (April Baumgarten/Grand Forks Herald)
Amazing Grains Co-op members listen in on a Tuesday board meeting as they discuss selling store equipment and how to handle possible ventures for a restaurant. Amazing Grains closed its downtown Grand Forks store last weekend. (April Baumgarten/Grand Forks Herald)

A natural foods co-op that occupied a downtown Grand Forks storefront plans to move to another location if it pursues opening a restaurant, but the board wants to gather more information on its future.
Amazing Grains Co-op members discussed at a Tuesday board meeting forming a committee to work on a proposal to possibly open a restaurant or deli. It’s the first time the board has met since the co-op closed its store last weekend at 214 DeMers Ave., where the 45-year-old co-op moved to in 2000.
Board member Dexter Perkins confirmed the co-op plans to vacate its downtown location, but it was the consensus of the board Tuesday to gather more information on its lease, ask what board members want through a survey and the possibility of outside groups opening a business there.
Citing several years of declining sales and a loss in revenue, the store is closed but the co-op still is active.
“We had a fantastic close-out sale,” store manager Betsy Perkins said.
Co-op members previously discussed upgrading its current location into a restaurant, but that would require a “significant” investment, according to a letter sent to member owners on Monday.
“One estimate places the amount at something greater than $300,000,” the letter stated, adding raising that amount could take months of work.
It’s unclear when the co-op would vacate the downtown location, though the letter hints it should leave by May 26 in order to “avoid unnecessary expenses.”
Perkins, who plans to retire soon, said there has been interest from outside groups in opening a restaurant or grocery store at the co-op’s location, but she warned the next tenant should be as inclusive as possible if it wants to succeed. A business targeted at a specific clientele -- for example, a gluten-free restaurant -- may not make it, she said.
Co-op members who are interested in joining the committee should email board@amazinggrains.org by Monday.

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