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After more than 15 years without a full-service grocery store in Dinkytown, one may open at the University Technology Enterprise Center site in August 2014.
The 21,000-square-foot store would be called Fresh City Market — a satellite of Fresh Madison Market near the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s campus.
Madison Fresh Market owner Jeff Maurer, who grew up in the Twin Cities, said he’s finalizing rental agreements with UTEC’s developer.
Plans for the store would upset recent student efforts to create a cooperative grocery store near campus.
On Thursday, Maurer met with students from the Food Coalition, a group in the process of requesting funding from the University to develop a grocery co-op, to discuss ways to work together if plans for the store are finalized.
The group was planning to use the business to employ students and teach them about nutrition and sustainable food options.
Maurer said he’s open to the students’ requests and will work with them going forward.
“I don’t want to compete with students,” he said, adding that he would back out if students decide to continue with the co-op.
Though building a student co-op wouldn’t be impossible, Maurer said he worries about the project’s leadership because of quick student turnover with graduation and study abroad.
The Food Coalition’s meeting with Maurer showed the students that he’s open to accommodating their ideas, coalition member and University junior Gretchen Buechler said.
“It almost seems like the next-best alternative to having an actually student-run grocery store,” she said. “I think that is really going to benefit students completely.”
She said the coalition will work to start partnerships between the developing store and groups on campus.
Frowns from Madtown
Though Madison Fresh Market is centrally located and has good hours and produce, it’s a bit expensive, UW-Madison student Maggie Ray said.
“People kind of have to go there for convenience,” Ray said, “so I think they might take advantage of that a little bit.”
UW-Madison English sophomore Clare Michaud said she usually walks a mile to a Trader Joe’s near campus to save money and only goes to Madison Fresh Market when she’s low on time.
But having more convenient grocery options would be worth paying more, said University of Minnesota journalism sophomore Gina Carr, who said she drives to Target to get groceries with her roommate each week.
In addition to saving time and keeping gas spending down, Carr said, a Dinkytown store would spare students the frustration of having to look for groceries elsewhere.
“I’ve been thinking since I got here that it would be so much easier if there was a grocery store on campus,” she said.