Central Co-op targets summer opening for new Pearl Street location

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Central Co-op’s new Tacoma location is at 4502 N. Pearl St. in the former Bargain World building. Photo by Andrew Fickes

After a long wait, members of Central Co-op living in Tacoma will soon have a store to shop at.

Central Co-op, which had to close its Tacoma store on Sixth Avenue in July 2016 because of a lease dispute, has secured a new site in the former Bargain World building at 4502 N. Pearl St. A 10-year lease agreement has been signed, with two five-year options. Opening date is scheduled for mid- to late-summer 2018. The retail area of the new building at 12,000 square feet, according to Central Co-op CEO Garland McQueen, is more than double that of the Sixth Avenue location.

“We are really happy with this location, because it will allow us to serve people from all walks of life in the neighborhood, and it is in a spot that many people drive by on their way to the park or the ferry,” McQueen said. “The site was originally a grocery store, but has been a clothing store since the 1980s. We have many neighbors who remember those days and are excited to have a grocery store on that corner again.”

McQueen said plans for the site include a produce department; an expanded bulk-food section; a fresh meat and seafood department; a wellness center; packaged grocery; and a deli featuring fresh food made in-house.

“We will also have some inside and outside seating, and a community room that we will use for workshops and other events,” McQueen said.

Central Co-op expects to hire 40-45 employees to run the Pearl Street store.

This year Central Co-op celebrates 40 years of service to the greater Seattle and Tacoma communities. It opened its first grocery store on Capitol Hill in Seattle on Oct. 16, 1978. In December 2015, the owners and boards of Tacoma Food Co-op and Central Co-op decided to merge and became known as Central Co-op. The customer- and worker-owned co-op has 14,400 active members.

An update to members at the end of January stated that interior demolition had been performed and improvements to the parking lot were made. A store design has been finalized. A construction crew on site is expected by late March. An open-house event at the store is scheduled from 1-3 p.m. on Saturday, March 24, to show members and the general public the layout of the store and the progress made at that point.

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