Construction begins on new Ozark Natural Foods location

Photo: Courtesy, Ozark Natural Foods

Renovations on the building set to become the new home for local grocery co-op Ozark Natural Foods are officially underway.

Officials with the local grocery story have been working for more than a year on a plan to move from their current location in Evelyn Hills into the building at 380 N. College Ave., formerly home to IGA at the southeast corner of College and Lafayette Street.

Local company Nabholtz Corporation is handling the construction project, and the project was designed by locals Chris and Leanne Baribeau of Modus Studio.

“First we planned our dream Co-Op; the type of place we would build if we had an infinite amount of resources. Then, we took a look at our budget and said okay, how can we get as close to this dream as possible while getting the project to an affordable budget? With the help of Modus and Nabholz, we were able to make the foundation of our vision a reality,” said Mike Anzalone, General Manager for the Co-Op in a press release issued Thursday.

The new facility will include a new entrance at the northwest corner of the building facing College Avenue, a large, covered outdoor seating area along the street, and other amenities.

Aside from the patio, Anzalone told us earlier this fall the new store will showcase a taproom with exclusively local and regional beers, an expanded prepared food area and a coffee shop featuring Onyx Coffee.

Photo: Todd Gill, Fayetteville Flyer

“The objective is to build the kind of place where people want to come and hang out at the co-op,” he said.

The Homestead pet food and feed store portion of the coop will be located on the east side of the building on the opposite side of College Avenue.

Anzalone said the new building does have a bit of extra space, and the co-op plans to share a small portion of the building with one or two other local businesses.

In addition to the new building, ONF has also been undergoing rebranding exercises with local design agency, BLK BOX, and the new branding will be integrated into the design of the new store. The company’s new logo, which focuses on the word ‘Co-op’ is visible in the rendering Anzalone shared with us recently.

The rendering also shows a sign hanging over the door that reads “Everyone Welcome,” which gets to the heart of what the co-op is trying to accomplish, he said.

“We really want to invite people in, earn their trust and business, and have a comfortable environment to give people the healthiest food they can get in Fayetteville,” Anzalone told us.

ONF has been in its current building in the Evelyn Hills Shopping Center since 2000. A purchase of that space was initiated in 2008, and the final mortgage payment was announced in 2012. Anzalone said the co-op last week officially sold the space to a group of local investors.

The co-op purchased the new property last October for $3.6 million. Anzalone said if all goes well, the store will be up and running in the new building sometime in 2020.

If all goes well, the new store will be open for business sometime in 2020. A grand opening will be announced one month prior to the store opening, with plans for live music, local vendors with food and drink samples and a local craft beer tap takeover to celebrate the opening of the new location.

Rendering of the new building

Courtesy, Modus Studio

Site plan

Site plan / Courtesy City of Fayetteville Planning