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Prairie Roots looks to spring opening of downtown grocery store

FARGO--A downtown grocery store will start taking shape soon. Prairie Roots Food Co-op is expected to open in the late spring at 1213 NP Ave., a building that most recently was home to Mathison's print shop and is now undergoing a major renovatio...

A third story is being added to the building at 1213 NP Ave. N. in Fargo. The building will also be the future site of Prairie Roots Food Co-Op.Dave Wallis / The Forum
A third story is being added to the building at 1213 NP Ave. N. in Fargo. The building will also be the future site of Prairie Roots Food Co-Op.Dave Wallis / The Forum

FARGO-A downtown grocery store will start taking shape soon.

Prairie Roots Food Co-op is expected to open in the late spring at 1213 NP Ave., a building that most recently was home to Mathison's print shop and is now undergoing a major renovation.

General Manager Kurt Kopperud said the food cooperative, which announced its intentions to open here last October, should get access to the 8,500-square-foot first floor of the building this December.

Construction workers can then complete the store's finishing work, including plumbing and electrical work and adding refrigeration and shelves, before the store opens by May.

It'll be a full grocery store with produce, meat, general groceries and more, but Kopperud said Prairie Roots will stand out in the community with its focus on fresh and locally grown products and natural foods.

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"It's really a community service as much as it is a retail store," he said.

Building upgrades

While Prairie Roots is the anchor tenant in the former Mathison's building, it won't be the only business there.

Kilbourne Group is now overseeing a major renovation of the building and parking lot, including adding a third story to the structure that was built in 1950, according to city property records.

Commercial Agent Cam Knutson said it's something Kilbourne Group often explores, though many buildings' foundations can't support the weight of another floor.

"In this case, it was built as a production facility, so there's relatively zero change that has to occur to the foundation," he said.

The second story and basement are being renovated, with Kilbourne Group planning to seek multiple tenants per floor to fill the property.

Knutson said it's a sign of growth in this southwest corner of downtown, which is also gaining several large apartment buildings that will add capacity for 600 more residents.

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"It's a lot of fun to think about how NP is going to be transformed and other areas around this site with all the investment going into this area," he said.

Kilbourne Group plans to finish up renovations by the end of the year, meaning tenants could start to move in and finish the space to fit their needs beginning in December or early next year, he said.

New options

Prairie Roots hasn't yet started to turn the first floor into a grocery store, but the cooperative knows what it will look like once the work is done. On Saturday, Oct. 29, guests of a brunch event were able to see the store design through virtual reality goggles.

Kopperud said the store will have about 5,600 square feet of retail space and stock produce, bulk foods, dairy products, frozen foods, general groceries, health and wellness products, packaged meat and more.

The store will have a deli with hot foods, a salad bar, soups, coffee and pre-packaged meals, as well as a community room that can host demonstrations, meet-the-farmer events, food talks and classes.

It will also be locally focused, carrying fresh seasonal produce, locally raised meats and other products as much as possible.

"Regular grocery stores for every dollar spent gives back $1.38 to the community," he said about economic impact. "Co-ops give $1.60 back to the community, so shopping at a co-op, you're directly giving money back to the farmers and growers in the region."

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Prairie Roots has focused on signing up more members, something Kopperud said is a way to fund the business and help make the store possible. But members and non-members alike can shop there, he said.

Members get access to special sales and discounts and invitations to special events.

Prairie Roots will have a staff of about 30 and be open seven days a week, he said. If things go according to plan, it will become a grocery store for more than just downtown shoppers.

"Downtown of course will benefit from it directly, but I see it as a destination for people looking for fresh, healthy foods that are sourced locally," Kopperud said.

On the web

Learn more about Prairie Roots at prairie-roots.coop .

Related Topics: RETAILKILBOURNE GROUPFOOD
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