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Good Grocer to reopen in new location in Whittier neighborhood

Good Grocer operates on a volunteer-only model and uses its profits to set up a 'food outlet' for those struggling with food insecurity.

MINNEAPOLIS — After being asked three years ago by the city to move and make room for the 35W expansion, Good Grocer shut down.

However, the Good Grocer is making a comeback. On Friday it reopened its doors to the public, bringing good to the community, just like its name intends.

People who work within the walls of the Good Grocer take the word 'good' quite literally.

"Everything you see in this store is focused on fresh, natural, organic great food for you," Good Grocer owner Kurt Vickman said.

Good Grocer is a full-service grocery store that is located on Nicollet Avenue in Minneapolis. Vickman said he is nervous about re-entering the murky waters of retail, especially during a time when everyone is having difficulty.

"I feel scared to death the fact that we're opening in the midst of this, but for me, it's solidified that this is the perfect timing for something like Good Grocer to open," he said.

And the thing is, there may not be anything like Good Grocer in town.

The store is fully run by volunteers, not employees.

"Having volunteers pitch in their time, that lowers operational costs significantly," Vickman explained. "Which we in turn pass those savings on to our volunteers, in the form of a 20 percent discount and in the form of lower food prices for all volunteers."

Plus, because the store is a not-for-profit, they choose to use the money they make for a cause Vickman is passionate about.

"During the week, we make a little money, and we take that money, and buy food for the food outlet on the weekends," he said. "The food outlet is focused on people who have food insecurity so they don't have enough food or not good enough food. Every weekend they will come and be able to access [these] amazing, fresh, natural, great products at up to 75 percent off retail price."

He said the more people come into the main store and pay full price, the more stocked the food outlet shelves will be. It's something that's tangible too, as the food outlet is also located within Good Grocer. 

"Because we're a cause-retailer, which means that we're redistributing our profits to help people who are facing food insecurity, food outlet is the way we're doing that," Vickman said.

Vickman said he has no choice to be an optimist when working with this model. He said he's relying on Minnesotans to choose to spend their money here, so their dollar can be further stretched to fight food insecurity.

"People want to make a difference," Vickman said. "I think if people can reallocate their shopping dollar by walking through the doors of an amazing grocery store that has everything they need, I think, and walking out knowing that they did good by shopping there, I have to believe that there are enough people in this community who really want to be about that."