Volunteer-run grocer opens on Lake Street

In exchange for volunteering at the store, Good Grocer members receive a discount on groceries Credit: Kassidy Curry

The non-profit store Good Grocer opened a new Lake Street storefront June 15.

With only two full-time and four part-time employees, the store relies on its members to volunteer. Instead of paying for a membership, members volunteer two-and-a-half hours every four weeks to receive a discount.

“We literally could not do it without volunteers,” Operations Director Cory Gregory said. “The model was set up to be a member operated store.”

Member Carla Hofland recently signed up, and after her first volunteer shift she received the 25-percent member discount. Hofland first started shopping at the new location and found that even the non-discounted prices are very affordable.

“I think even the higher prices are comparable to other grocery stores,” Hofland said. “They’re probably cheaper than Lunds and Kowalski’s. I shop at Cub and I think that the prices are pretty similar.”

Good Grocer initially was a member-only food pantry operating out of the Redeemer Missionary Church. The founder of the store, Kurt Vickman, acquired the new building, an old furniture store, late last fall and started doing renovations.

The store has seen many new patrons since it opened its new location and currently has several hundred members.

The store selection is stocked based on customer suggestions. The produce selection, which is stocked from a local wholesaler who also works with other local stores and co-ops, is a top-seller.

“We don’t feel compelled to be just another grocery store,” Gregory said. “We’re here to provide a service for people and to help others join the cause of bringing healthier, affordable food to people who that’s a challenge for.”

Good Grocer is located at 121 E. Lake St. and is open 10 a.m.–8 p.m. daily.