Thursday, November 15, 2012

Colorado chain, Natural Grocers, could be looking at store in Idaho Falls

Last year, while this blog was in its carefree youth, we sparked a bit of speculation by reporting on a conversation with Assistant City Planner Brad Cramer, who told us he'd been getting cryptic inquiries from a company interested in building a specialty grocery store about 15,000 square feet in size.

Trader Joe's? Whole Foods? If not them, then who?

This is the difference between writing a column (or blog) and writing a news story. I cannot report with absolute certainty that Natural Grocers, a Colorado-based chain, will be building a store on the 3.87 acres south of 17th Street where Andrew Well Drilling used to be.

What leads me to surmise that it is Natural Grocers that is interested in Idaho Falls is the fact that the city has been in communication with Leadership Circle, LLC, a company in Montrose, Colo., that  consults on planning and zoning for Natural Grocers. Here is a link to minutes from  Missoula Board of Adjustments meeting in January: ftp://www.co.missoula.mt.us/opgftp/Minutes/CiBOA/2012/120125CiBOAMinutes.pdf.

If they seek to build in Idaho Falls, they will have to submit a site plan, get the land rezoned and receive a special use permit. The deadline for the January Planning and Zoning Commission meeting is the first week in December. So this is something to stay on top of.

Natural Grocers has stores in 12 states. Earlier this year it opened stores in Boise and Missoula. Here is a link to its Web site: http://www.naturalgrocers.com/. And here is a link to the story that ran in the Idaho Statesman when it became official they were opening in Boise: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2012/01/26/1968611/natural-foods-grocery-to-open.html

As a footnote, I find it interesting that Whole Foods opened in Boise this week.