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Willy St. Co-op Store leaving Willy St.?

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Willy St. Co-op Store leaving Willy St.?

Postby radboy » Thu Apr 05, 2012 4:26 pm

"A new location could potentially become Willy East, with 1221 Williamson serving us in another capacity (offices, production kitchen, specialized store, a multi-use site, etc.)."

http://www.willystreet.coop/future_plans_for_willy_east
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Re: Willy St. Co-op Store leaving Willy St.?

Postby Meade » Thu Apr 05, 2012 4:45 pm

Co-oprate greed.
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Re: Willy St. Co-op Store leaving Willy St.?

Postby fennel » Thu Apr 05, 2012 4:46 pm

Ach, in the meantime the west side remains fly-over land.
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Re: Willy St. Co-op Store leaving Willy St.?

Postby rabble » Thu Apr 05, 2012 6:43 pm

Oh my what a shock.

The neighborhood slams 'em for years over that freakin driveway and then suddenly out of the clear blue, they find a larger and more friendly place to set up.

I bet the folks over at Jenny St Market are boohooing into their hands.
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Re: Willy St. Co-op Store leaving Willy St.?

Postby Average Joe » Thu Apr 05, 2012 8:59 pm

Meade wrote:Co-oprate greed.


How is being able to expand into a larger space to meet the needs of their growing base in a space that is less disruptive but geographically close to their core constituency greed?
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Re: Willy St. Co-op Store leaving Willy St.?

Postby fennel » Thu Apr 05, 2012 9:15 pm

Average Joe wrote:
Meade wrote:Co-oprate greed.

How is being able to expand into a larger space to meet the needs of their growing base in a space that is less disruptive but geographically close to their core constituency greed?
Wow, AJ. A full paragraph in response to a grunt?
You're thrilling its handlers.
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Re: Willy St. Co-op Store leaving Willy St.?

Postby Average Joe » Thu Apr 05, 2012 9:27 pm

fennel wrote:
Average Joe wrote:
Meade wrote:Co-oprate greed.

How is being able to expand into a larger space to meet the needs of their growing base in a space that is less disruptive but geographically close to their core constituency greed?
Wow, AJ. A full paragraph in response to a grunt?
You're thrilling its handlers.


You're confusing a sentence with a paragraph.
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Re: Willy St. Co-op Store leaving Willy St.?

Postby jjoyce » Fri Apr 06, 2012 8:29 am

I wonder how much "driveway-gate" has to do with this. Seriously.

If you consider Willy St. a destination, the co-op would have to be its anchor. On an early Friday evening, it's astonishing the number of people moving through there, Star Liquor, Weary, other restaurants within a block.

I'd love to hear about how many transactions per hour per square foot happen there compared to, say, a typical Copp's. It has to be double, right? More?

I'm a co-op member, so I assume I'll be asked in some form or another at some point, but I think if they're going to situate a presumably larger and full-service co-op grocery at Union Corners, they'll have to turn the Willy Street location into some kind of specialty store, maybe an expanded deli and prepared food thing without as much bulk and health/beauty. The core of the ownership and customer base lives around that area and will continue to stream in and out of there.

I'm a west sider, so I use the Middleton spot a lot. Love it. And it's starting to become sort of a hot spot at certain times of the week.
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Re: Willy St. Co-op Store leaving Willy St.?

Postby snoqueen » Fri Apr 06, 2012 8:47 am

I think it wasn't just the driveway. That's a noisy and persistent annoyance from a relatively small group of people not a reason to move away. I think it's more about truck access (very difficult) and car parking. The coop has done the best it can with its limited parking lot but I can see why they'd want something more workable.

Moving over to E. Wash would trade difficult car access for difficult bike access.
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Re: Willy St. Co-op Store leaving Willy St.?

Postby narcoleptish » Fri Apr 06, 2012 8:58 am

They're talking about the 800 block of E Wash, which is hardly out of the neighborhood. I would think the foot/bike traffic could sustain a scaled-down version of the original store with the car people relieved to go to E wash. Changes done to try and make coop entry/exit easier have only taken away street parking for other businesses.
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Re: Willy St. Co-op Store leaving Willy St.?

Postby rabble » Fri Apr 06, 2012 9:08 am

This is from their website:
Future of Willy East

I should start off by saying that we have no plans to leave 1221 Williamson St.

We have discussed for some time whether to extensively remodel Willy East or to open another location on the near east side of Madison. Two years ago we postponed those discussions to focus on opening Willy West. (As you know, the process went well, and I'm happy to report that - a little over one year after that store opened - it is doing extremely well. I would like to again thank our Owners for their support.) Once Willy West was up and running, we restarted our discussion about the future of Willy East. Each of the options we are discussing offer benefits and challenges.

It's apparent that Willy East is in need of remodeling, but the question we're discussing is "how much should we continue to invest in 1221 Williamson St.?" Further improvements are limited by the existing building footprint and available parking space. The site needs a new floor, a better dock and many cosmetic improvements to continue serving Owners in its current form. Despite these limitations, remodeling would be easier and less expensive (at least in the short term) than opening a new location.

Opening another location would address the "room to grow" issues that Willy East currently faces, and would likely face even with remodeling. A new location could potentially become Willy East, with 1221 Williamson serving us in another capacity (offices, production kitchen, specialized store, a multi-use site, etc.). To that end, we are exploring the possibility of locating a grocery store in the Urban Land Interests proposed development of the 800 Block of East Washington Avenue. We are not actively looking at other sites for a retail store at this time, but are always open to proposals.

Even if we open a new retail site at 800 East Washington Ave. or elsewhere on the near east side, we have no plans to abandon 1221 Williamson St.

We will keep you posted as this discussion develops.

Anya Firszt
Willy Street Co-op General Manager


In my own humble opinion, if the driveway problem didn't exist they'd remodel with barely a thought. I predict they will move, and turn the current location into storage and offices with little or no retail, giving the neighborhood time to see how much fun it is driving to the grocery store when you run out of bread. Then maybe reconsider.
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Re: Willy St. Co-op Store leaving Willy St.?

Postby kiwiwannabe » Fri Apr 06, 2012 10:28 am

800 East Wash is only a 5-minute walk from the current location, and even less on a bike. It will be easier to get trucks in and out, which will probably lead to a better product selection for all of us, another good thing.

I'm sure, depending on which side of Wash they are on, it will have bike access from the street BEHIND it, either Mifflin or Main. The East Wash corridor needs development badly. It has very few viable businesses on it any more.

Willy Coop would be a great addition, and the Metcalfes already came up with a good development plan. I don't see what the downside of this is, unless people are afraid of change or going 6 blocks farther to get their food.

You can still get there without jumping in the car, and you can stop on the way home from campus or downtown to shop. There will always be parking close by, and there are no neighbors to complain about the headaches that commerce brings in a residential neighborhood. A real improvement over the current site!
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Re: Willy St. Co-op Store leaving Willy St.?

Postby Ducatista » Fri Apr 06, 2012 10:47 am

I'd rather see Metcalfe's on that block than the co-op. Roof-grown herbs AND a 12-pk of Tab? Yes!
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Re: Willy St. Co-op Store leaving Willy St.?

Postby swoon_queen » Fri Apr 06, 2012 11:11 am

I go to Willy St. Co-op East daily- sometimes twice a day- and love it as-is, but I'm all for them moving over to the 800 block of E. Wash. Unless one stops in at an extremely 'off' time (maybe 2:30 PM or 8:45 PM) it is bustling and parking can be nearly impossible. I've decided to do my best not to stop there on my way home from work, after twice spending almost 20 minutes trying to find a parking spot between 4-5 pm on a weekday. No big deal for me- I can always loop around and come back at some point if I really need something, but I can see how that might be frustrating for folks who drive from further away. After going to Willy St. Co-op West, I found myself envying those co-op owners in its vicinity, because it just has so much more to offer. Beer/wine- ambivalent about that, love stopping in at Star. But a real meat counter? Organic rotisserie chickens? Far more extensive cheese selection, better (and self-serve) hot bar/olive bar, and other things like prepared kabocha squash, more varieties of certain brands, etc. It would be great to see both east and west side co-ops operating at that level, which I can see happening if the east side co-op got a bigger footprint.

I do have to say though, it seems to me that keeping that prime real estate that is so central to Willy Street (especially as office space or something less public) while moving into a more accommodating space is counterproductive. Would love it if the present co-op location sold or rented out to another east side entrepreneur who could morph into something equally as cool but different- it would be a perfect place for Christopher Berge's bike-in restaurant, for example!
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Re: Willy St. Co-op Store leaving Willy St.?

Postby Henry Vilas » Fri Apr 06, 2012 11:12 am

Metcalfe's owner is a Republican who supports Walker. Thus the boycott of their Bratfest (and institution of counter-fests). Will eastsiders shop at a new Metcalfe's if it is located on E. Wash?
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