Oshkosh Food Co-op plans to open grocery store

OSHKOSH, Wi. (WBAY) The Oshkosh Food Co-op will be launching a $1.6 million capital campaign to open a grocery store in Oshkosh. The store is planned to be located at the corner of Jackson Street and Pearl Avenue. The food co-op plans to occupy 8,000 square feet of space on the BRIO building’s first floor. Co-op leaders selected this location based on its visible location, ample parking and accessibility to drivers, walkers, bikers, bus riders and boaters.

“Our 1,039 member-owners told us the store needs to be visible and easy to get to, provide a wide selection of local, organic and natural foods and create a unique shopping experience,” said Brenda Haines, Oshkosh Food Co-op Board President. “We believe this site does all of that and more. It provides a next gen shopping experience that will attract people to our community, brings healthy food choices to an underserved part of the community and provides a market for local farmers and producers.”

The co-op plans to source about 20% of its products from local growers and producers.

“We expect this store to help strengthen the local food economy by offering farmers and producers a 7-day-a-week market in which to sell their goods,” said Tracy Vinz, Producer Relations Team Co-Chair.

The site is in an area classified by the US Department of Agriculture as a "food desert." Food desert neighborhoods are low-income areas where the traditional grocery stores are more than a mile away. About 50% of residents in that area surrounding the food desert live below the Federal Poverty Line.

“The store helps address a major gap in the community, providing healthy food options in a neighborhood where there are too few,” said Samantha Larson, Oshkosh Food Co-op Board Vice-President. “We can do this because the owners of the store – our members – are making this a priority.”

The building will also include 53 apartments above the Oshkosh Food Co-op. The BRIO building is one of three buildings planned to be part of a $50 million development in the Jackson Street/Pearl Avenue area. The Oshkosh Common Council approved Merge’s General Development Plan earlier this year. Final site plans and construction documents have not yet been submitted for the Council’s final approval. The development team is hoping for a May 2020 ground breaking.