The Goose's Story...
The Goose Community Grocer is owned by Goosefoot, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization located on South Whidbey Island, WA
Because of the success of the Goose Community Grocer, Goosefoot has given $291,444 in grants to 18 local non-profits since September 2016.
Goosefoot donates to non-profits that serve the South Whidbey community in areas that support our mission to build a sense of place and community, preserve rural traditions, enhance local commerce, and help create a healthy, sustainable future for South Whidbey Island.
As the non-profit owner of the Goose Grocer, Goosefoot had always intended to distribute profits from the store right back into the community. After doing so informally for some time, we formalized our grant process in June of 2017 and are now on our 2nd grant cycle. Click here for more information on how to apply for a Goosefoot community grant.
Goosefoot never planned on owning a grocery store...
In June 2005, we purchased 9 acres of prime commercial property that was for sale right off of Hwy 525 in Bayview, a vibrant and historic community that serves as the crossroads of South Whidbey Island.
As a non-profit economic & community development organization, Goosefoot wanted to ensure that future development of this property would be in the best interests of the community. If left unchecked, its future could have held storage units, expensive condos, and fast food franchises. Even worse, it could have deteriorated into empty storefronts and parking lots, an economic disaster and aesthetic eyesore along one of the most highly trafficked areas of Whidbey Island. The only way to avoid this was for Goosefoot to purchase the property.
After our purchase in 2005, Goosefoot organized community meetings & focus groups where participants unanimously voiced their desire for a better grocery store than the one that was already there. Community members stressed the need for businesses that catered to the day to day needs of Island residents. They wanted the current businesses to stay. And they wanted beautification of what had become a tired, unattractive highway strip mall.
In 2008, the Red Apple grocery store at that location indicated they were not going to renew their lease. Goosefoot did not find the potential of 21,000 sq. ft. of empty anchor space appealing. Unfortunately, neither did any of the independent grocers we reached out to in the hope an established store could move in. Goosefoot was faced with owning 21,000 sq. ft. of empty space during the worst economic downturn in recent memory!
A Partnership is Born
On the advice of our banker at the time, Goosefoot contacted the Myers Group, a locally owned family business with a portfolio of grocery stores throughout Washington state. While not in the position to own the store, their president Tyler Myers (son of founder Kent Myers) was intrigued by the concept of a community grocery store on the Island where he grew up. In fact, his father Kent owned a store at this exact location from 1978-1999. Tyler approached Goosefoot with a plan. If we incurred all the costs of renovation and inventory--if Goosefoot owned the store and assumed all liability--the Myers Group would manage its day to day operations. A deal was struck!
In March 2009, Goosefoot and the Myers Group announced their partnership to open the Goose Community Grocer. On Wednesday, September 16, 2009 it opened to the public.
The Goose is known for its bulk foods, beer selection, and local products. But most of all, the Goose is all about community and celebrating the beautiful, supportive place in which we live!
Grant recipients to date:
Bayview Community Hall, Clinton Community Hall, Coupeville Farm to School, Friends of Friends, Good Cheer's Big Acre, Helping Hand, Island Senior Resources, Mobile Turkey Unit, Organic Farm School, Sound Water Stewards, South Whidbey School District School Farms, SouthWhidbey@Home, Whidbey Camano Land Trust, Whidbey Community Foundation, Whidbey Homeless Coalition, Whidbey Island Grown, Whidbey Island Nourishes, and Whidbey Watershed Stewards.