Moving Up: Pocatello Co-op expands to new location, adds café

May 27th, 2016 | By | Category: Pocatello News, Restaurants

By Janna Graham
For the Journal

Doug Lindley/Idaho State Journal Karen Martin, assistant manager, sits at the fountain in the old Cook's Drugstore where the Pocatello Co-op has moved to.

Doug Lindley/Idaho State Journal Karen Martin, assistant manager, sits at the fountain in the old Cook’s Drugstore where the Pocatello Co-op has moved to.

POCATELLO – The Pocatello Co-op completed its long-planned move in April and now occupies a new space at 308 E. Center St.  The new location offers the opportunity for increased foot traffic while allowing the Co-op to continue participating in downtown events such as the First Friday Art Walk. 

“This is a thriving area of town, and we’re confident that it is an excellent space for the community hub that we’re envisioning,” said Jen Alderson, the Co-op’s General Manager, who oversaw the move.

The new location features an old-fashioned soda fountain along with original counter and stool seating. Checkered floors, hexagonal tile and many other fixtures round out the vintage look. 

“It’s a very cool building, with a funky, vintage vibe, and it suits the Co-op perfectly,” Alderson said. “We are happy to have a space with such a strong history.”

The primary reason for the move was to increase the square footage available for offering food products and artisan goods to consumers.  Part of this expanded vision includes a café that opened May 16. The café will feature dishes made with local and sustainably-grown ingredients.  Café customers can eat-in or take advantage of a convenient “grab-and-go” selection of ready-made foods.  Alderson says that the café will provide healthful, delicious options for dining out and allow customers to taste some of the products that are for sale in the natural foods grocery.

The café menu will include wraps and salads that feature homemade tortillas and local vegetables, beans and meats.  Espresso, smoothies and house-made juices will also be available.  Diners with specific dietary requirements will be able to request vegan and gluten-free versions of all the café dishes. 

“Everything in the café will be made from scratch,” Alderson said. “From soaking beans to making tortillas to mixing salad dressings, we will be doing all of the prep work and cooking ourselves instead of relying on pre-made products.” 

According to Alderson, the café’s focus on local and naturally-grown ingredients and big, unique flavors will make it stand out among Pocatello’s dining options.

The café will be open for lunch Monday through Saturday.  In the future, Alderson hopes to expand the café’s menu choices and hours.  Depending on demand, the café could offer both dinner and Sunday hours by the end of the summer.

In addition to the café, the new location will allow the Co-op to further diversify its grocery selection.  With space for more product, Alderson hopes to sharpen the Co-op’s focus on local goods and push the market for local farmers, ranchers and artisans. 

“Our goal is to avoid products, both in the store and the café, that have been produced with synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, or GMO seeds,” Alderson said. 

Food producers and artisans interested in selling their products through the Co-op are encouraged to contact the store.

A larger space also means more room for activities.  Classes and meetings can now be added to the Co-op’s calendar of events, which already includes monthly wine tastings and the First Friday Art Walk.  Alderson said she hopes that a varied, locally-focused product selection and a full event calendar will both engage current members and attract new members, helping the Co-op to continue to thrive.

The Pocatello Co-op is a member-owned grocery store that specializes in local, organic, and sustainably-grown foods.  Everyone is welcome to shop at the Co-op and participate in special events.  Membership grants additional discounts on selected products as well as a say in the running of the organization. 

“The point of a co-op is to provide the goods and/or services that members need and want,” Alderson said.  “Our new space will allow us to do more of that.”

To learn more about the Pocatello Co-op or to become a member, contact the store at 904-1368.

Janna Graham is the outreach coordinator for the Pocatello Co-op. She can be reached at outreach@Pocatellocoop.com.

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