Ashland Co-Op expands: Makes way for parking

By KBJR News 1

July 15, 2014 Updated Jul 15, 2014 at 9:53 PM CDT

Ashland, WI (NNCNOW.com) -- The Chequamegon Food Co–Op in Ashland has grown in popularity, and the business has outgrown its current space.

The Co–op is in the process of tripling its space from a 2,000 square foot store to 6,000 square feet.

"We have an ever expanding membership. Right now we have about 2,000 active members and that has been growing pretty consistently throughout the years. We have also been experiencing pretty significant sales growth," said Meagan Van Beest, Marketing Services Manager for the Co-Op.

With a new building in the making, co–op leaders say they will also need to expand parking options. Van Beest said parking is the number one reason why some people don't shop at the co-op.

"People will say, 'I circled the block three or four times for a parking spot and I couldn't find one so I gave up," said Van Beest.

In order to make way for more parking, the co–op purchased two buildings, 718 and 720 Main Street West, which they plan to demolish to make a parking lot.

With the added space, the Co-Op will be able to create 30 to 40 parking spaces to accommodate more customers.

Co-op leaders say they are expecting 500 customers a day once the new building is finished.

"I'm sad to see the buildings go down because we put so much into them," said D'Anna Zakobec. She has owned the antique shop, "Angel's Among Us," for the last 15 years which is at 718 West Main Street.

Zakobec also used to own the building next to it, now called Grubies, and was even considering re–buying it.

"I had Sunny Dee's Diner there, we had Poppa Don's burgers, a pound of ground stake on a homemade bun, it was a wonderful adventure."

However, that adventure has come to an end because she agreed to sell the building her shop is in to the Co-Op.

Despite that, Zekobec says she is happy to see the city growing.

"I'm glad they are going to be employing people, I want to see Ashland prosper, and if this is prosperity then I'm for it."

Managers hope to have the Co–Op finished by mid–September.

The demolition plan for the two buildings was discussed by the Ashland Planning Commission on Tuesday night.

The commission did not make any decisions about the plan and is expected to make a decision at their next meeting on August 5.

Posted to the web by Kati Anderson.