What started more than 40 years ago as a small natural food store in the basement of a southwest Roanoke County couple’s home has grown into a member-owned grocery store that soon will have two locations and supply its stores with products from its own farm.
Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op announced last week that it is opening a second store on the Roanoke farmers market, in the space where Thomas Market closed earlier this year to accommodate Center in the Square’s $27 million renovation. Plans for the co-op’s 25-acre urban farm, Heritage Point, were finalized earlier this year.
“We’re excited to be in the position to grow our cooperative,” general manager Bruce Phlegar said in a news release announcing the store.
The co-op’s board of directors had been looking for several years for a suitable space to open a second store. In August,Center in the Square president Jim Sears approached the board about opening in the renovated Thomas Market space. The owner of the market did not renew the store’s lease, Sears said.
“I think it strengthens the economy of the market area,” Sears said. “It strengthens Center in the Square. It provides a service I don’t think we could have found anywhere else.”
Click here to read more about the co-op’s growth and an update on Ivy Market, the Roanoke shopping center where Ukrops closed several years ago.