"The Goose" Grocer Opens Whidbey Island, Washington

Moving forward with development plans spearheaded by Irwin Development Group, Goosefoot Community Fund opened a new grocery store on September 16, 2009, with the colorful name "The Goose Community Grocer" in their Bayview Center.

Goosefoot forged a partnership with The Meyers Group, experts at building and marketing grocery stores, to construct and operate their own grocery store in space vacated by a Red Apple grocery. Red Apple chose not to renew its lease, instead consolidating into one store down the road.

The Goose grocery occupies 21,500 square feet that has been uniquely redesigned to offer shoppers a warm and cheerful atmosphere along with deli, bakery and cafe seating areas. Christine Hurley, CEO of Goosefoot, said the store opening was a huge success. "We had 600 people tour the store, enjoy the samples and meet local producers," she said, adding "and the next morning we had shoppers at the door at 7 AM ready to shop.

Hurley noted that their goal is to deliver value and variety with a locally produced emphasis. "In community meeting held two years ago, an overwhelming majority asked for a modern up-to-date grocery store, designed for local residents, with affordable grocery items and where local growers could sell their produce."

The business model is highly unusual. Goosefoot will provide $2 million to finance all building renovations, store inventory and daily expenses, said Chris Hurley. Goosefoot sold two non-revenue producing properties and streamlined its operations both in keeping with Irwin Development Group recommendations.

A new corporation was formed between Goosefoot and The Meyers Group with Meyers hired by the nonprofit to run the store. Profits will be reinvested back into the community by Goosefoot into financing projects such as affordable housing.