at The Barlow
Community Market will be having a “soft opening” this Friday, November 1st. We will not have the entire store open by this date, but our Grocery, Chill, Bulk, and Wellness departments will be set and ready for you to peruse!
We will not yet have our beer and wine license, so we will not have alcohol available for purchase. The tasting room will not be ready yet either, but we welcome you to take a look and see the beautiful bar which will soon be open for business! Our deli will be opening around November 7th, and we look forward to preparing delicious meals for you then!
We hired over 40 new employees, and were humbled and honored by the amazing turnout at our Job Fair. You may have already met some of our wonderful new employees as they have been training in the Santa Rosa store. Please be patient with our new cashiers, as they have dozens of produce codes to memorize!
We hope that you can come visit our new Sebastopol location in November. We will be working to improve our brand new store so we can better serve you. We will happily accept suggestions throughout this process! If you can’t find products you’re looking for, wish we carried products that we don’t have, or have any other questions or suggestions, please speak with one of our customer service representatives at the desk at the store entrance!
New Store Opening!
at The Barlow
8-1-2013 Whew! We finally got the last piece of financing we needed in order to proceed with our second store at the Barlow in Sebastopol. It has been a long, hard, stressful and educational road to get this far.
As many of you know, we have operated for years as an educational community resource. This means that we have given back all of the money that we have brought in over the years. That is our mission, and it’s why we do what we do. However, when it came time to convince a bank to invest in our future… well let’s just say we heard ”no” 41 times before we finally found one that believes in us and our mission.
Union Bank of San Francisco has financed the last portion of our $2 million project. There are some stipulations however: we need to be consistently profitable and meet strict financial conditions in order to stay in good standing with the covenants of our loan. This means it’s going to take a while before we can fully get back into the “giving” mode that we are so used to. We will not be able to reinstitute the senior, student and disability discounts until we have successfully fulfilled the covenants of our loan for two years. We apologize to those who were expecting to see them reinstated sooner. We are, however, working on other ways to help out those in financial need. Please keep an eye out at the registers for information on some upcoming programs.
Many people have been asking about jobs and our hiring process for the new store. We will be holding a job fair, with the assistance of Job Link of Sonoma County, sometime in September (if our current construction schedule stays on track). We will post information on our website and on Facebook, and we will also hang flyers around town with dates, times and positions. We are looking to open in mid-October, so keep your fingers crossed.
Interested in being a part of this special moment in our history? There will be many opportunities to volunteer your time, so keep your eyes peeled. We need your help breathing life into the “community” spirit of Community Market.
We encourage you to check out the site as it continues to come along. It is the building currently under construction directly east of Guayaki. We are super excited and hope you are as well. We want to thank all of our faithful shoppers for their continued support. If it weren’t for you, there would be no Community Market.
3-15-2013 Victorian Farmstead and Community Market.
We recently announced a collaborative effort with Victorian Farmstead to provide the meat products at our Sebastopol store. To some this may seem like a shock because we had originally said that we wouldn’t have a meat counter there. However, having no experience in providing meat, we soon discovered that there was a dilemma. We only wanted to offer meat that was raised locally, treated as humanely as possible, not treated with antibiotics and hormones, allowed to roam pasture lands, and that was prepackaged. After a great deal of research, we realized that the only way to accomplish most of these goals was to have a meat counter. The prepackaged meat available to us was from the Midwest. We wouldn’t be able to see the farm, meet the people, or guarantee consistent inventory.
After looking into several butchers who dealt in local and humanely raised meat, we decided that Victorian Farmstead was the best fit. They produce meat on their own farm, as well as working directly with ranchers in the area to provide locally raised meats of the highest quality. We are allowed to visit every farm that the meat comes from. They will run the meat department as their own business, keeping within our stated guidelines. It’s important to note that we will not have a butchering facility in our market, only a meat counter. Meat will be delivered daily from VF’s butchering facility in Petaluma.
Ultimately, this decision was made to ensure that we maintain the highest standards and quality of product that we can provide. We hope you understand.
1-1-2013 Well after what feels like an eternity our building has arrived at the Barlow site. The supporting foundation was poured on January 31, 2013. We can expect to see the structure begin to rise like a Phoenix from the ash, literally. Our delays began when the building that was to be remodeled for us caught fire and burnt to the ground. Now we will have a brand new building to begin the next phase of Community Market history. Our plan is to open in late summer 2013. We will be doing a fundraising adventure to help offset some of the costs of filling the new location. We are planning an IndiGoGo crowdfunding campaign in hopes cooperatives and natural foods people across the nation will chip in $20-$100. In return they will receive various Community Market items especially made for those that chip in. We want to be able to give back to the community faster by keeping our debt repayment as low as possible. Keep posted for further details.
By now you’ve probably heard the news. We are opening a second Community Market in Sebastopol! The new store will be located in the Barlow (http://www.thebarlow.net/) and will be open as early as this October. We are beyond excited about this unique opportunity and can’t wait to serve our west county community. The new store will be very similar to our Santa Rosa location, but with a few additions. It will have a full deli, providing delicious freshly prepared organic hot and cold foods. There will also be a juice bar with a wide selection of healthful juices and smoothies. We will have a beer and wine section with a focus on local and organic, as well as a tasting room where you can relax with a glass of your favorite libation. Right outside, there will be a community space with a stage, a fire pit, and an outdoor patio, where we will host events, music, and speakers.
Finally, the most significant addition will be a meat section, which will offer a small selection of the highest quality local and organic meats. This particular decision was very difficult to make, as our Santa Rosa store has been Sonoma County’s only vegetarian natural foods store for 37 years, and we have a special and longstanding connection with the vegetarian community in the North Bay. While we understand the potential controversy in this decision, we also recognize that the vast majority of our customers want to have the option to purchase high quality meat products. We will continue to run the Santa Rosa location as a vegetarian business in order to provide a meat free shopping experience in Sonoma County.
We hope that you are as excited about the new store as we are. This has long been a goal of ours and we think that the Barlow is a perfect fit. We are delighted to bring our unique worker-run, not-for-profit business model to West County. We can’t wait to see you all there!!
Melissa Minton, GM & Community Market Board of Directors
Food For People, Not For Profit.