Linden Hills Co-op Grand Opening today after remodel

The freshly remodeled Linden Hills Co-op is celebrating all day today with food, discounts and giveaways.

The remodeling work expanded the meat, cheese and deli departments and created a new dining area.

An outdoor cookout from 12-3 p.m. today offers brats, chips and soda. Kids can enjoy face painting, bubbles and sidewalk chalk, while adults try cheese and deli samples and watch food demos from local producers.

A sale with discounts up to 40 percent off runs June 25-27. All-day giveaways include $50 gift cards and gift baskets. Those who bring in conventional sunscreen can swap it for all-natural Badger sunscreen, while supplies last.

The co-op is celebrating 40 years in business in Linden Hills. According to the co-op: The idea started with a 1975 ad placed by Carol Vaubel in the Linden Hills Line, which drew 20 interested people to Linden Hills Park. She wanted a community-driven co-op to sell natural and whole foods with limited packaging and processing.

The founders initially raised more than $4,000 to open the store by recruiting 160 members and selling coupons to redeem in the future. Volunteers finished the floors, installed refrigerators and built shelving. The store opened in 1976 at the Upton Alley at 4303 Upton Ave. S. In the early days, volunteer-members made up most of the workforce, and each member worked at least four hours per month in exchange for 20 percent discounts.

Over the coming decades, the co-op moved throughout Linden Hills as the grocer repeatedly outgrew its space. The co-op relocated to the Hawkinson’s grocery space at 4306 Upton Ave. S. in 1981, Lake Harriet Plaza at 2813 W. 43rd St. in 1994 (the building was outfitted with solar panels in 2005), and finally its present-day location at 3815 Sunnyside Ave. in 2010.

Current membership stands at nearly 9,000 people.