New Pioneer hosting press conference about new store location

BY DI STAFF | OCTOBER 01, 2013 5:00 AM

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An Iowa City-based natural and organic food cooperative will hold a press conference regarding updates to the company’s expansion plans.

New Pioneer Food Co-op, which operates Iowa City and Coralville grocery stores, will hold a press conference at the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, 501 First St. S.E., Cedar Rapids at 11 a.m. today.

Speakers will include New Pioneer board President Sarah Walz, general manager Matt Hartz, board Vice President Janet Razbadouski, as well as Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett, and Cedar Rapids City Manager Jeff Pomeranz.

The announcement was made official in a Monday news release.

In recent months, as the downtown Iowa City store continues to be squeezed for space, the more than 40-year-old grocery has sought a third store to serve its growing customer base.

To date, two market studies have been completed regarding the company’s future endeavors. A first market study, conducted by an independent agency, identified the grocer’s current trade area.

The areas in which the majority of its customers reside lie among Iowa City, Coralville, North Liberty, Cedar Rapids, and Marion.

The news comes just four days after North Carolina-based Fresh Market announced its intentions to open a Cedar Rapids location at 180 Collins Road in 2014 near the Lindale Mall.

In an email statement, Jenifer Angerer, the New Pioneer marketing director, told the DI in a Sunday interview that the company is aware of the new competitor.

“We were aware of the Fresh Market’s intentions to open a store in Cedar Rapids prior to its announcement, and we factored that into our planning process,” she said. “It does not impair the capacity of the Cedar Rapids market to support a New Pi store if we were to put one there.”

In June, New Pioneer received an overwhelming Yes vote from its members to pursue a third store in the Co-op’s current trade area or in the event that a viable downtown Iowa City space can be found, to relocate the Iowa City store downtown.

If Cedar Rapids were to be chosen for a third location, it would not mark the first time of a New Pioneer presence.

In 1988, the company opened a branch before closing it three years later in 1991.

— by Quentin Misiag

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