Our Story

More than a store.

BriarPatch is a neighborly kind of grocery store, serving up high-quality healthy foods and natural products to the people who live, work and play in the watersheds of the Yuba, Bear and American Rivers.

Since 1976, we’ve promoted a resilient and sustainable local economy by supporting businesses, organizations and brands that are committed to a healthy, equitable world.

As a co-op, we take things like food, social and environmental justice seriously. But we also know how to have fun! By modeling community-mindedness and our cooperative principles, we hope to inspire you and your friends to do the same.

It all started when…

1976

First Briarpatch 1976

The first BriarPatch cooperative retail store opens in an unheated warehouse near the airport on Loma Rica Drive in Grass Valley. The early founders restructured an existing food-buying “Grub Club” to look more like co-ops in the Bay Area. The first store sold staple food items in bulk, carried as much meat and other perishables as would fit in its old refrigerators and fulfilled special orders. At first, the store was open only to members, who were required to volunteer. The name comes from a co-op (now closed) in Menlo Park, California.

1981

old briarpatch logo

BriarPatch moves into a much smaller space on Nevada City Highway near the current Brunswick Basin Jack-in-the-Box in Grass Valley. The store was open to the public and volunteer work was no longer required. Members received a 5% discount on purchases and younger members began asking for more organic produce.

1982

Washington BriarPatch 1982

The Co-op moves to Washington Street. The new building had approximately 1,000 square feet of retail space and very little warehouse space. With cheap rent and a friendly landlord, BriarPatch began a new stage of growth.

1992

1992 Joerschke Drive BriarPatch

BriarPatch moves to a 2,160 square foot location at 131 Joerschke Drive, a peaceful corner of the Brunswick Basin shopping Mecca in Grass Valley. The store’s finances begin to stabilize with the adoption of new systems, the first finance manager and operations manager. Sales and membership begin a swift and steady rise in the mid-1990s along with staff, wages and employee benefits.

2003

2003 letter of intent

BriarPatch signed a letter of intent with the Litton family to lease store space to be built just off the Sierra College roundabout.

2007

Plans come to life for bigger store

The new “green building” opens, featuring a deli with cold and hot food bars, a large eating area, an outdoor patio, fresh fish and meat counters and a customer service desk.

2016

Sustainability

BriarPatch teams up with California Solar Electric Company to install 680 high-performance solar panels, making it the largest photovoltaic solar system constructed over a parking lot in Nevada County. It produces as much as 55% of the store’s electricity.

2019

electric charging stations

BriarPatch installs Electric Vehicle Charging Stations.

2020

BriarPatch Masks Up

BriarPatch introduces online shopping and Curbside Service during COVID-19 pandemic. Store sales reach nearly $40M and The Patch announces the opening of a second store in Auburn, California Winter 2022-23.

2021

sustainability goals briarpatch food co-op

BriarPatch is voted Best Grocery Store in Nevada County by readers of The Union newspaper. The store releases 2025 Sustainability Goals with a plan to achieve 100% renewable energy and 100% of food waste diverted from landfills.

2022

Growing To Auburn

BriarPatch gears up for the opening of a second store in Auburn, California, slated for this Winter.