FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) -- Ozark Natural Foods is looking to get back to its downtown Fayetteville roots.
‘’It’s a big part of who we are, that Fayetteville funky aspect, so I think it will be fun to be back downtown,’’ said Fresh Department Manager Pauline Thiessen.
Thiessen has worked at Ozark Natural Foods for two decades. When the store moved to the Evelyn Hills shopping center 16 years ago, the exterior space became difficult for customers.
"We are set back here, the parking lot is confusing for some people,’’ Thiessen said.
For shopper Julia Chowdhury, the lack of interior space can make maneuvering through the aisles difficult.
"It’s a little tight sometimes, trying to navigate with the cart," Chowdhury said.
Ozark Natural Foods has a contract to move to the 32,000 square feet IGA building on North College Avenue. IGA closed a couple of years ago. The new building would give the store three times more space.
"What we are hoping is that this move allows us to grow at a really rapid rate, which of course would mean more jobs, more great food, more work for our local farmers,’’ said Mike Anzalone, Ozark Natural Foods general manager.
But before a definitive decision is made to move Ozark Natural Foods, board of directors will have three outreach meetings to give co-op owners an opportunity to voice their opinions. The first one is Monday evening at 6:30 p.m. They have 90 days to decide.
The potential new building could provide more opportunities, "we can do even more to meet the needs of our ownership and our community," said Thiessen.
If a decision is made to move Ozark Natural Foods to the former IGA building, the location at Evelyn Hills will remain open while the new space is being worked on. It would take at least a year to move the store to the new location.