Wirth Co-op celebrates grand opening

Wirth Co-op general manager Winston Bell (left) celebrated the co-op's grand opening alongside City Council Member Blong Yang, Co-op Board VP Teasha Reid, and Mayor Betsy Hodges. The event was attended by over 50 people. Photo by Cirien Saadeh.

Wirth Co-op general manager Winston Bell (left) celebrated the co-op's grand opening alongside City Council Member Blong Yang, Co-op Board VP Teasha Reid, and Mayor Betsy Hodges. The event was attended by over 50 people. Photo by Cirien Saadeh.

By Cirien Saadeh | Staff Reporter

It was a party at the intersection of Penn Ave. and Golden Valley Rd. last Thursday afternoon as Northsiders and elected officials gathered to celebrate the grand opening of Wirth Cooperative Grocery.

For many of those individuals, Wirth Co-op has been a long-time coming — organizers began dreaming of and planning for it nearly 11 years ago.

“This has been in the works for over ten years, but people never gave up. The community really invested in this. And people worked hard in telling the community why the coop was important,” said Kimberly Caprini, a Wirth Co-op board member. 

“I hope this will be an inspiration for people to see that a business can grow from this community and that people can feel that the co-op is theirs,” said Roya Damsaz, the co-op's board chair. Photo by Cirien Saadeh.

“I hope this will be an inspiration for people to see that a business can grow from this community and that people can feel that the co-op is theirs,” said Roya Damsaz, the co-op's board chair. Photo by Cirien Saadeh.

“Wirth Co-op and North Market, these are community pillars in our food adventure, lifting the community up. Our community deserves this. Avenue Eatery, Breaking Bread, the Co-op, North Market — food businesses are changing how people see the Northside. We’re proving people wrong,” said Caprini.

The event, which took place at and across the street from the co-op, included numerous vendors and food samples, as well as a workout performance by Noir Elite Fitness. A DJ provided music and inspired lots of dancing.

“This is a phenomenal opportunity for the residents, the neighborhood, and community. This is a powerful force, not just for good food, but for the community to gather,” said Mayor Betsy Hodges, who spoke at the event. During her speech, she spoke about the importance of grocery co-ops as community assets, particularly in communities like North Minneapolis which are often thought of as “food swamps.”

Wirth Co-op is open daily from 8am to 8pm at 1835 Penn Ave. N. The Co-op is member-owned; more information on ownership can be found at https://wirth.coop/becoming-an-owner/.

Kenzie O'Keefe