BriarPatch purchases store building on Sierra College Drive
On the cusp of its 40th year, BriarPatch Co-op Community Market is celebrating the occasion with a hallmark of 40’s adulthood — homeownership.
On December 31, the cooperatively-owned grocery store closed escrow and purchased the property it occupies at 290 Sierra College Drive in Grass Valley.
The Sierra College Drive location has been BriarPatch’s “home” since 2007, when it began leasing the property from Calloway LLC. BriarPatch and Calloway worked together to construct the store, a move that has been extremely successful for the Co-op. Since the relocation from Joerschke Drive to the new building — with three times the space — BriarPatch’s sales have increased from $6 million in 2006 to $29 million in 2015.
“Partnering with Calloway in building this beautiful store set the stage for our fantastic growth,” said Chris Maher, BriarPatch’s General Manager.
With renewal of the 10-year lease on the horizon and BriarPatch considering remodeling and expanding parking, it became clear that owning the property made sense. With historically low interest rates expected to rise soon, in November of 2015 BriarPatch made a purchase offer, and an agreement was soon reached for purchasing the building.
Greg Francis, Managing Member of Calloway, said, “Calloway Development and the Litton Family are the majority land-owners in the area, and we would not have relinquished control of the BriarPatch building if we did not think that it was in the best interest of all the surrounding owners and tenants. BriarPatch has proven itself to be an extraordinarily well-managed, community-minded business. We are excited at see what’s next for the Co-op, and we are certain that it will continue to add value, not only to its immediate neighbors but to the community as a whole.”
“Owning the property puts BriarPatch in a stronger, more stable financial position for the long run,” said Maher. “Ownership helps justify the investments we’re considering for expanding the store and parking lot,” he said. “As a cooperative business with over 12,000 owner households, ownership of our store is particularly meaningful — and a fantastic way to celebrate our 40th anniversary.”
“This is a huge milestone in our 40-year history,” said Alan Weisberg, BriarPatch Board President. “As owners, we can do a much better job of shaping our future,” he said. Weisberg was first elected to the Board in 2005, when the store was located on Joerschke Drive.
Weisberg and the other eight Board Directors voted unanimously to authorize the purchase.
Mark Fenton, BriarPatch’s Board Treasurer, noted the financial advantages of owning property as opposed to leasing it.
“We can plan for the future knowing what our expenses will be, without worrying about future rent increases. All our planning and resources can go into creating value for owners,” he said.
Board Director Lew Sitzer attributed BriarPatch’s success to the work of many.
“It’s a tribute to Co-op owners and staff that we can now purchase our own store,” he said.
Sitzer saw the move as indicative of changes in the organic and local foods movements.
“This will stand as a statement of past commitment and future involvement to bring quality organic foods to market and to support local farmers in their important work, both in our community and schools,” he said.
Serving the needs of the community was also noted by Alana Lucia, who was elected to the BriarPatch Board in 2013.
“When we did our survey, there were a great many people who wanted to remain in the Sierra College Drive store. They liked the proximity of the schools, offices, and neighborhoods and felt that we were in a prime location for serving healthy foods conveniently. By purchasing the property, we are able to make a long term commitment to serving the needs of the community. We are home.”