Good Grocer's forthcoming volunteer-powered store is located in a mixed-used development in Minneapolis' "Eat Street" section, which offers a wide variety of food options.
Billing itself as the country’s first volunteer-powered grocery store, Good Grocer will anchor a new mixed-use development at the corner of 27th and Nicollet Avenue in Minneapolis — the heart of the city’s foodie-friendly “Eat Street” section — when the concept reopens on Jan. 22, 2021. Before then, however the retailer is calling for hundreds of people to step up and donate their time at the store, free of charge.
Volunteer support enables the socially responsible business to lower its operational costs and pass those savings on to not just the volunteers, who get a 20% discount, but also to all shoppers. The unpaid workers will be involved in every facet of the operation, from stocking shelves and cashiering, to working as baristas in the coffee shop and prepping food in the kitchen.
“I was a volunteer with Good Grocer in the past and can’t wait for them to reopen so I can continue this meaningful work,” said Minneapolis resident Molly Sullivan. “Good Grocer is such a creative business concept that approaches food affordability in a very humanistic way.”
The retailer will use profits to fund a new section, the Food Outlet, which will be located within the store’s 900-square-foot space. The outlet will help people facing frequent food shortages by offering qualified shoppers high-quality goods at up to 50% off.
“We are 100% focused on rethinking how we run a grocery store by mobilizing an army of volunteers all committed to the cause,” noted Good Grocer founder Kurt Vickman. “It’s my belief that volunteers are the most overlooked asset in the world, and harnessing their collective gifts can create a powerful yet practical solution for people feeling the pinch of rising food prices.”
Good Grocer had to move from its original location on Lake Street because of the expansion of Interstate 35W in early 2018. The necessary relocation allowed the retailer to create a new 8,500 square-foot store, located in the same building as the Good Dwelling apartments, with a larger selection of organic produce, fresh meat and more than 10,000 predominately natural grocery selections. The Good Eatery, an in-store restaurant slated to open in April 2021, will serve as a full-service coffee shop in the morning and a made-to-order urban food hall in the afternoon and evenings.
The grocery store’s opening coincides with Minneapolis’ rebuilding efforts in the wake of the unrest in response to the killing of George Floyd in police custody, and amid ongoing pandemic-related economic struggles.
Those interested in volunteering at the store can sign up online.