Downtown Digs

Downtown Digs

ONF plans move to former IGA location


Downtown-area shoppers and organic foods enthusiasts will again be able to get their groceries from the corner of North College Avenue and Lafayette Street.

Ozark Natural Foods in the Evelyn Hills Shopping Center has a contract to move to the former IGA building at 380 N. College Ave., a Ozark Natural Foods spokeswoman confirmed July 2. The cooperative hinted at the move in a Facebook post last month.

“There’s always a chance that something with a contract could fall through,” said Carrie Kent, marketing director for the cooperative. “Where we’re at is that we’re very much hoping that is going to be our next location.”

The space in Evelyn Hills is also under contract to be sold, although Kent said she couldn’t disclose the prospective buyer. Ozark Natural Foods bought that space in 2008, according to property records. It paid off its mortgage in 2012.

The Ozark Natural Foods board set a schedule for a series of public meetings. The meetings should run over the next two months, Kent said.

NWA Democrat-Gazette/DAVID GOTTSCHALK The former IGA building at 380 N. College Ave. is seen Monday, July 2, 2018. Ozark Natural Foods, currently housed in the Evelyn Hills Shopping Center, plans to move to the space.

The move will serve as a homecoming of sorts. The cooperative started in the 1970s at different locations downtown before moving to Dickson Street in 1993, according to its website. It moved to Evelyn Hills in 2000.

“We’ll just be integrated more in the community, making it a lot more accessible,” Kent said. “It’ll be a very good move and really will help us to serve our mission.”

The IGA building had a number of iterations before closing last spring. It started as IGA and became Marvin’s IGA. It re-emerged after a remodeling in 2015 as Saver’s Club and became CV’s Family Foods shortly thereafter. The building has been owned by the Charles Agee family since 1987, property records show. It was a Safeway before then.

A large gathering was held outside the doors of the property in March to commemorate the store’s closing. A little more than 100 people braved the dreary, 40-degree weather to pay their respects, eat hot dogs and reminisce.

Cory Moffat attended the event with his family. Moffat also is an owner at Ozark Natural Foods.

Although he didn’t go to it much, Moffat said he thought highly of the former IGA. He worried the cooperative, now with competition it didn’t have for several years, might be jumping the gun moving into a place where a previous store failed. A lower-cost option such as Aldi might work in the location, he said.

“There should be at least one non-Walmart option down there, and the only other Aldi is way down on the road to Farmington,” he said.

Moving into the new space will require extensive renovation, Kent said. The cooperative will stay open in Evelyn Hills while the new space is being worked on, she said.

Kent said the move should take at least a year.



Public Board Meeting

Ozark Natural Foods’ next public board meeting will be 6:30 p.m. July 24 at the Co-Op Community Room.

Categories: Food