business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

A few months ago, I did a FaceTime piece about Lisa Sedlar's newest Green Zebra store in Portland, Oregon - the second of the concept which often has been described as "Whole Foods meets 7Eleven." (You can see that piece here.)

And now, there's an even newer one - opened just last week on the campus of Portland State University (PSU) there.

It's taken Lisa longer than she probably expected to expand up to three stores. The first opened in northern Portland in 2013, and then it was three years before the second one opened. As much as I liked the original version, I thought the second edition, in the Lloyd District, got the concept absolutely right - it was a wholly original merging of convenience and healthy, with a strong foodservice component, excellent fresh foods, and a terrific beer and wine selection.

What's interesting about the PSU store is that it rethinks the concept yet again - it probably is about half the size of the Lloyd store, and the departments have been edited some; for example, there isn't a bar (which was one of my favorite parts of the Lloyd store).

But the changes make sense. This is, after all, a store that caters largely to students. So it makes sense to offer products - both fresh and packaged - that will appeal to that demographic. Lots of salads, for example, and plenty of coffee options. There's also a sandwich-making counter, as well as packaged sandwiches from Bunk Sandwiches, a local and highly popular purveyor. (The Bunk sandwiches are expensive, but have a ton of local appeal. This is Portland, after all, and "local" rules.)

There are some pics of the new store below. I like this store a lot, not least because it shows the degree to which Lisa Sedlar and her folks are willing to keep rethinking, refining and reworking a concept. That's an important and Eye-Opening core value for the company she's building.

I must also admit, in the interest of full disclosure, that I have a rooting interest in this store. It is about three blocks from the apartment I rent each summer in Portland, and about two blocks from the building where I team-teach a retail/marketing class with PSU's Tom Gillpatrick. So I figure this is going to be a go-to option whenever I get a craving.

Can't wait.

KC's View: