Green Zebra 'C-Store' Hopes to Earn Local Community Stripes

Former fresh grocery CEO announces small-format chain's name, first two sites

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Retail and regional food pioneer Lisa Sedlar, formerly of upscale grocer New Seasons Market, has announced that she will name her new small-format stores "Green Zebra Grocery" and will open the first two locations in the Woodstock and Kenton neighborhoods in Portland, Ore.

When announced in October, the new business had been licensed with the state of Oregon as "Modern Convenience Food Stores."

"The name Green Zebra came from the tomato variety that grows particularly well in our region," said Sedlar, "I wanted the name to be memorable, fun (even fanciful) and relate to our local food shed. I think Green Zebra Grocery accomplishes all three."

The small-format "convenience" stores will focus on fresh, local and healthy foods and feature a selection of the most frequently needed daily grocery products.

"The idea of the 20-minute neighborhood really resonates with me and I think our smaller-sized stores will fit well into a lot of Portland neighborhoods. Our stores will have a produce department with lots of locally grown fruits and veggies, a small butcher counter featuring grass-fed beef, and we'll have a great selection of healthy grab-n-go foods. But because not everyone eats healthily 100% of the time, we'll also offer a selection of traditional convenience store items like Gatorade and Doritos."

The Woodstock store will open first. "There is a lot of pent-up demand for a healthy, local grocery in the Woodstock neighborhood," said Sedlar. "Woodstock has great, established local businesses and a thriving farmer's market. I feel very fortunate to be opening my first store in such a vibrant neighborhood."

Green Zebra's Woodstock landlord, Marc Gaudin, is the founder and owner of The Joinery handcrafted solid wood furniture store, He said, "As a longtime business owner in the Woodstock Neighborhood, I know firsthand how much a good grocery store is needed. When I heard about Lisa's concept of healthy, small stores, I thought it would be perfect for the building we just purchased. The Joinery is committed to community building and sustainability. I am thrilled to help bring another local business to the neighborhood that shares our same values and who meets the needs of the neighborhood."

Of the second store, located in the Kenton neighborhood, Sedlar said, "I am happy to be joining a neighborhood so active in supporting their community and local businesses. The time is ripe to bring local, fresh and healthy food further to the community."

Mike Dyer, the landlord for the Kenton store, said, "Having grown up in the neighborhood … it means a lot to be able to bring a business that will enhance the community."

Sedlar works with Urban Works Real Estate to help find locations. "Lisa's new store concept has had the best response and solicitation from neighborhood community representatives and landlords that I have seen in over 20 years of commercial real-estate representation," said Craig Sweitzer, principal and founder of Urban Works Real Estate. "We are pleased to have helped her find these two great neighborhood locations. We think Lisa's small stores will help increase the livability of many Portland neighborhoods."

Green Zebra plans to open several more stores in the Portland area and in other communities that need greater access to healthy food. Lisa Sedlar is a formally trained chef and most recently served as president and CEO of New Seasons Market, which is a minority investor in Green Zebra. Sedlar is deeply involved in the community, serving on the boards of the Oregon Food Bank and All Hands Raised.

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