The Co-Op Market, a cooperatively owned grocery store in downtown Fairbanks, is open for business! This one-stop shop is packed with fresh produce, specialty items, and household necessities.
The store recently completed major renovations to the former Foodland building on Gaffney Road, and launched their soft opening in late afternoon on Saturday, March 30th. Inside, customers file through produce bins and shelving in wide aisles stacked high with products not previously available in the Interior, or even the state. Find more photos of the store on the Facebook page of the Downtown Association of Fairbanks.
You’ll find bulk spices (Himalayan salt, anyone?), bulk teas, and bulk tortellini. Sipping Streams Tea Company sells their tea by the pound, including a variety called “Awakening Spirit” that will bloom in your cup. You’ll also find flavored kale chips ($4.99 on sale- in nacho, nasty hot, and vampire killer) from Brad’s Raw Leafy Kale, sodas from Joia ($6.99 for a 4-pack on sale- in spiced flavor combos like Pineapple, Coconut, & Nutmeg), and fermented goodness like Red Beet & Cabbage Sauerkraut Salad ($8.39) from Wild Brine. Plus—a few surprises, like the brown butter candied bacon ice cream sandwich ($5.99) from Coolhaus or pickled paprika okra sold as Smokra ($13.49) by Rick’s Picks.
The emphasis on locally-sourced products shines through in the produce, meat, and fish departments. Right now, the Co-Op Market has microgreens ($4.99) from Johnson Family Farm and fingerling potatoes from the root cellar of Rosie Creek Farm. Venison or Buffalo Patties ($7.69/lb) and Elk/Venison Steak Medallions have been flying off the refrigerated shelves. A cow from Delta was butchered specifically for opening day, enabling the store to offer a few specialty cuts and parts of the animal not typically available in stores. The Co-Op Market is also the lone carrier of Kodiak Tanner Crab Legs ($12.99/lb) in the Interior (and if you haven’t tried snow crab—you should).
Diving Duck coffee (once served at Julia’s Solstice Cafe) is for sale by the pound at the Co-Op Market, and Northern Lights Dairy is supplying whole and 2% milk ($3.99/gallon) plus three flavors of ice cream to the grocer, which is a big deal to locals who were upset when the dairy company was no longer available at Safeway or Fred Meyer. Fresh-baked LuLu’s bagels and bread are also available on a daily basis.
The deli is stocked with meals on the go (downtown employees—take note) as well as a coffee/chai bar and a sunny seating nook for a quick lunch or coffee break. The Chai Masala Tea is a delicious blend made from scratch each morning. To go with, pick up a squash and black bean burrito, deviled egg wrap, or a helping of wild rice soup. Have a recipe suggestion? The deli wants to hear from you. An assortment of cold drinks, from juices to sodas, is also conveniently available.
The Wellness Department is full of new health and beauty products worth discovering, and a few lines that will have brand faithfuls thanking their lucky stars that the Co-Op Market has brought them within easy reach. Fans of Alaska’s Angels Farm from the Downtown Market will find their soaps ($5.99), while Uncle Harry’s supplies a full line of dental care products from Washington State. Sarah Jackson, Wellness Department Manager, points out one of her personal favorites—Dr. Hauschka’s skin care line, a “tried and true” brand from Germany started in the 1940s. The rose cream packs the essence of 28 rose petals into each bottle. Though the line runs a tad expensive, multiple price points are available for nearly every product at the Co-Op Market, so shoppers on a budget will find plenty to take home.
So far, the response from customers and member-owners has been very positive. Sarah says the store is bigger and carries more products than most customers expected.
“Everybody is just tickled pink,” Sarah says. “It’s been wonderful. We went above and beyond our projected sales. I think we’re all exhausted but happy.”
If you’re not a member, you can still shop at the Co-Op Market. In fact, your experience will be no different, and you will pay the same prices with the exception of weekly member specials on a handful of products. At checkout, you can sign up for membership or simply purchase your groceries and be on your way. Since the first day of its soft opening on March 30th, the Co-Op Market has registered 150 new members. Members will also enjoy special discount days and, in the long run, a dividend from the company.
The Co-Op Market is planning a Grand Opening for Saturday, May 18th with special deals for member-owners, live music, and a (tentative) plant sale with Risse Greenhouse.
Monday- Saturday, 8:00AM-8:00PM
526 Gaffney Road
(access from Noble Street)