Willy Street Co-op West expansion

Members of Willy Street Co-op have almost reached their goal of raising $600,000 through a bond drive for a $2.25 million expansion project at Willy West in Middleton.

Willy Street Co-op has reached its goal of a bond drive designed to fund the expansion of its Middleton store.

The co-op, which has nearly 35,000 members, has raised $600,000 for the $2.25 million project at Willy West, 6825 University Ave.

Co-op owners were asked to purchase bonds between $500 and $50,000 for furniture, fixtures, equipment and professional services for the expansion project that will extend into a former UPS store that has moved to a new location in the Parkwood Plaza strip mall.

The bond drive, which began Jan. 15, is scheduled to be active until April 30 with overall bond sales capped at $800,000, according to co-op officials.

At the end of fiscal year 2017, the co-op had over $3.3 million in cash and equivalents, a net worth of $4.8 million with operations ahead of budget projections, according to information posted on the co-op’s website.

Members approved the expansion plan in a vote in July and approved a second ballot initiative to pursue other expansion of the co-op. No sites or projects have been identified, but it could include a fourth store or expanding the co-op’s production kitchen.

The work at Willy West would expand the 10,000-square-foot store, redesign the store, move the entrance and better configure the registers. It would also increase backroom storage, cooler and freezer walk-in space. The co-op, founded in 1974, also has a store at 1221 Williamson St. and at 2817 N. Sherman Ave.

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Barry Adams covers regional and business news for the Wisconsin State Journal.