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Natural Foods Co-op expanding to downtown Roanoke

Will there be too much produce downtown?

December 10, 2012|David Kaplan | WDBJ7 Reporter

ROANOKE, Va. — The Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op has been busy this year. 

Not only has business been booming at their Grandin Road location, not only have they started building greenhouses and getting their new urban farm at Blue Hills ready, but now they're going to get a store ready in Center In The Square.

More produce in downtown Roanoke?

The addition of the Co-op means on top of the vendors that line market street and the new 16 West Market on Church Avenue, there are plenty of options for buying produce in downtown Roanoke.

We spoke with the owners of the Co-op, the owners of the Sumdat Market next to the new Co-op location and folks with Downtown Roanoke Incorporated.  All of them hinted at some initial concerns that this would work, but all of them are also optimistic that every grocer downtown has certain niches.

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At Sumdat, they have an emphasis on local products outside of produce.  16 West considers themselves as more of a European-style gourmet grocery and at the Co-op the emphasis is on organic.

The hope is that adding the Co-op to the mix that everybody will benefit.  Downtown Roanoke Incorporated hopes having different niches of grocery stores diversifies the grocery options downtown, giving downtown Roanoke another new element as it continues to expand.

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