Auburn, CA – BriarPatch Food Co-op has officially opened a second store location at 2505 Bell Road in Auburn.
On August 10th, hundreds of people formed a line that stretched around the building to attend a Grand Opening event that included a pineapple cutting ceremony with representatives from the Co-op, the County of Placer and the Auburn Chamber of Commerce.
It’s been a long time getting to this moment,” said General Manager Chris Maher who told a story of early in his 14-year role at The Co-op when he first received a call from folks trying to start a co-op in Auburn.
“What I was amazed to see, is that energy that was formed that day continued. What I saw was ultimately the people who were coming together to imagine a co-op for Auburn were just the folks who wanted to shop there, and they were looking for someone to come in and run it. That is the heart of what a co-op is. People came together for this moment to make this happen,” said Maher.
Now in its 47th year, the cooperative that started as a natural food buyers’ club in Grass Valley in 1976 will be an important member of the Auburn-area economy by providing approximately 100 new jobs in Placer County.
“We’re excited to bring new business and new jobs and great food to Auburn,” said Store Operations Manager Glenn Dal Porto.
BriarPatch is a cooperative business model owned by the members it serves, but anyone is welcome to shop. The Co-op’s annual sales now top $36 million and more than 10,000 people are Owner-Members. Owners pay a one-time refundable equity investment that entitles them to special shopping discounts and other perks. Owner-Members of the Grass Valley store will automatically become members of the new Auburn store and can shop in both locations. Customers do not have to be an Owner to shop at The Co-op.
“Even though you don’t have to be an Owner to shop here, it’s a great way for added discounts and feeling like you’re a part of a family that supports each other economically,” said Rebecca Torpie, Marketing Director.
Located in 23,000 square feet of the former Kmart building, the new store occupies infrastructure with Old Navy and Harbor Freight Tools in the Rock Creek Plaza, the same shopping center that houses big box stores like Rite Aid and BevMo!
The colorful and welcoming interior of the new store features a full gourmet deli and hot bar, natural meat & seafood department, 99%+ organic produce department, expanded wine and craft brew and cocktail selections, a gourmet cheese island, aisles of sustainable grocery items, vegan-approved plant-based paradise, non-packaged bulk food & herbs and more. Self-checkout and curbside pickup are available for extra convenience.
An in-store demo area allows guest tastings and recipe promotions, and the outdoor patio and dining area is designed as a communal gathering space. Throughout August, numerous tokens of shopper appreciation will continue – from special in-store sales and samplings to two weeks of high-value raffles including the chance to win groceries for an entire year ($5,200 retail value) along with new Owner-Member incentives like branded tote bags and store credits. Staff have been empowered to hand out $5 gift cards in the aisles to add to the festive feeling.
Sales on Grand Opening Day were 175% of projections and continue to stay steady at 140% above the proforma as the celebrations continue. “These incredible sales are confirmation of exactly what we heard, explored and tested these past several years—that this area needs a high quality, natural foods grocer with phenomenal shopper experience. We’re thrilled to provide that,” says Torpie.
Over the years, BriarPatch has become a trusted household name among loyal followers and is a reliable source for thoughtfully curated, ethically sourced, high-quality products that are good for people, animals and the planet.
“BriarPatch Food Co-op has been contributing to the success of the cooperative economy as a member of National Co+op Grocers for over two decades, sharing expertise and collaborating with sister co-ops to help build a more sustainable food system and stronger, more inclusive communities,” said CE Pugh, CEO of National Co+op Grocers (NCG).
“We are thrilled to congratulate the board, staff and members of the co-op on the opening of their new Auburn store and to celebrate this milestone in the co-op’s history!”
BriarPatch is a longstanding member of NCG, a cooperative of about 140 food co-ops around the country that helps obtain volume pricing with distributors and provide operational support.
BriarPatch has been nationally recognized by Progressive Grocer magazine for its innovative approach to local. The store’s definition of local was updated to be the Sacramento Watershed in 2022, to acknowledge both its own expansion beyond its original Grass Valley location and the region’s reliance on the watershed as a critical resource to its inhabitants.
Customers can find hyper-local products like Remedy Coffee, Baker and the Cakemaker, SunFed Ranch, Local Culture Ferments, Fat and the Moon, Hola! Tortilla, as well as international fair trade leader Equal Exchange.
The Co-op supports and gives back hundreds of thousands of dollars to local nonprofits each year through programs like Round Up at the Register, Apples for Gardens and PatchWorks.
Committed to putting environmental values into all operations as part of long-term sustainability goals, BriarPatch recently became a member of Green Chill, a voluntary EPA partnership for installing a natural refrigeration system that will reduce refrigerant emissions to nearly zero. Only two percent of grocery stores in the U.S. use this technology.
BriarPatch Food Co-op is open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
BriarPatch Food Co-op is a community-owned cooperative business. We provide our community with quality food and products, strengthen our local economy and support local/regional businesses committed to regenerative agriculture, sustainability, humane practices and organic farming.