Great store for quality, organic products! Love it!
Great store for quality, organic products! Love it!
My first visit to the Boise Co-Op was for their anniversary party. I took my two young children and we had a lot of fun with all of the free samples, a bouncy house and face paintings! We made our venture inside the store and they have a lot of great items that are healthy and yummy for the kids. It's a little above my price range so I just got a few yogurts for the kids and the anniversary beer for me but it's a great store overall with very friendly staff!
I agree with another member's review that this is far from being an actual co-op. It's much, much more of a trendy "oh, look at us, we're so environmentally conscious" place to shop for the upper middle class to upper class -- and the prices reflect that.
If I summed up the place in one word: Uppity. (But then, I kind of get that vibe from downtown Boise in general.) C'mon folks, you're just Boise, Idaho; how 'bout bringing down the haughtiness a bit? (I'm an Idaho native, so I'm not just 'picking on' a store that doesn't live up to the standards I've seen in other states. Plus, I've lived in FRANCE and the stereotypical rudeness found in and around Paris isn't even as 'snooty' as the Co-op. Yes, that's saying something.)
It's a decent-size store, so chances are they'll have something you're looking for (but don't hold your breath for true vegan at the deli). They also moved their huge wine section across the parking lot to open up a bit more space for actual groceries. The bits of 'raw' products that are sprinkled around the store seem to get a teensy bit bigger every so often, though the prices are only 'cheaper' because to otherwise get some of the products I'd be shopping online and paying shipping.
I have also been let down a few times by items I'd think I could surely find there and haven't been able to (i.e., ceylon cinnamon). They even started producing their own coupon books, but two items in particular I was looking for which had coupons weren't even carried in the store!!
One pro I can mention is the produce section is large and the items are usually of pretty good quality--some of it local--and you can find more out-of-the-ordinary items that aren't carried at the bigger chain stores. (**A newer grocery store has opened by the mall that carries many of the same items as the co-op with more affordable prices, though the produce section is a bit smaller.**)
Also, for folks sensitive to smell... the store does have it's own unique smell. It's not a bad smell, per se--just different. (Akin to a first trip into a crystal/incense shop as a teenager...?) Needless to say, my 8-year-old niece refers to it as "the stinky store." I've only taken her once and she still asks when we're running errands and are headed to a store if it's "the stinky one."
OK, I come from a land with more options, but this was like a hippy haven in farm town. Thank you coop for saving me from waxy conventionally grown fruit :)
Great food at the deli (always could have more vegan options, lots of lacto ovo options so it's a start)
The BEETS were delicious.
When I started using a co-op in Oregon, it was a semi-volunteer place where you could go to purchase dry goods and hard to find ingredients for vegetarian meals at cost, plus 5%. It was a community effort to keep the prices low, but the Boise Co-op, even though it has many hard to get items, is staged for upper middle class to higher class people, with the money to afford their expensive products. They've sold out to corporate America and don't have the right to put Co=op in their name. They have a one time fee, but even without the 10% markup, without membership, their food products are still incredibly expensive. I can get the same product from Winco at a much cheaper price, which my family can afford. I miss the Co-op part or Co-op at this store. It's a fake.
I don't know what the other reviews' deals are with the deli. There are always at least 2-3 different vegan options in the case, and everyone I've ever spoken to knew exactly what "vegan" meant. Sure, a couple extra vegan options wouldn't be bad, but it's a grocery store, not a vegetarian restaurant. There's always a bunch of great vegan items (vegan marshmallows in the colder months!) and the staff is always friendly.
this place is similar to a Whole Foods as far as atmosphere and inventory. While you can get dry goods all the live long day, you can NOT get anything vegan at their deli. Let me also note, this place has way more meat than any other Co-op I have ever been to. This meat was pervasive throughout the deli case as well. The vegetarian items all had mayo or cheese, and the kids behind the deli counter all told me they were vegan. I had to educate him that mayo was not vegan, that cheese was not vegan. 'oh right'.
Disaster... I figured bread & hummus would be pretty safe. The ingredients weren't listed on the hummus tub, so after asking they all asked each other and no one knew what they made their hummus from. The deli manager told me the hummus did not contain mayo (I asked that specifically since I have seen it before and this place had mayo in everything) and was in fact vegan. I let her know that her crew was clueless as to what was vegan and what it meant. She agreed with me and thanked me for educating them. WAIT, it is NOT my job to educate her staff. My job is to get in & out of there as quickly as possible and back on the road/ good foot. I did call ahead from I-84; they told me they had a ton of vegan items on the deli bar and I would eat well and so forth. What a disappointment. I supposed whoever I talked w shared the same misinformed view as the kid I talked to.
On a good note the kind brother at the checkout reminded me of all that is good about HFs/ Co-ops. Positive vibes really can help create community and help establish HFs as the cornerstone of said community.
Suggestion: Reduce or eliminate meat. Train your crew. Come up with some vegan items.
As far as being able to get things in the store, this place is awesome. A lot of things that you really can't find anywhere else in town, you can find here. This goes doubly for their beer selection, which, while not immediately relevant to vegans and vegetarians as vegans and vegetarians, is definitely relevant to me as a dude who likes beer (speaking of beer, they carry a Scottish ale called Caledonian Golden Promise that's not only DELICIOUS, it also says it's suitable for vegans right on the bottle!) ;)
However, their deli is incredibly inept as far as accommodating vegan diets. Last time I went there, and asked if they could make something vegan, they pretty much took "vegan" to mean "hold the bread and slather it in cheese and mayo." The pre-made vegan options aren't very good or interesting, and really, I could just make better food at home for way cheaper. Luckily, with all the good stuff you can get at the co-op, that shouldn't be too difficult.
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Last updated: 2007/08/01
Added by: Guest