Joshua LaBure, the man behind Chomp! Vegan Supper Club and the vegan Neat Market (and a member in good standing of the vegan activist collective Plants & Animals Denver), has arguably done more for vegans in this town than anybody else. And now, he's about to take his efforts to feed the plant-based masses a step further: LaBure has just announced he's found a location for Nooch Vegan Market, which he hopes will open in July at 3360 Larimer Street.
Yesterday, the deal to place Nooch at 3360 Larimer Street in RiNo was inked; the space has been leased for a year, with the option to renew. "There are a lot of products that we read about in magazines and see online, and we're always jealous that people get to have them in other areas, but we don't have them in Denver," he says. "So we wanted to open a place where you can get products you can't get anywhere else in the Midwest -- and you can just drive and grab them; you don't have to mail-order anything -- and we read the labels for you, so you can eat everything in the store.
"And we also liked the idea of just having a community space. Vegans are people who are conscious of what they eat and want an alternative place to shop -- just kind of a central place where people can gather."
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LaBure hopes to have the space open every day of the week, carrying specialty vegan products, a small bulk section and a small local produce section (all organic). "And we'll have a good amount of vegan clothing items as well -- bags, wallets, shirts, nice vegan ties. Stuff that is hard to find in Denver," he says.
But in the meantime, LaBure and company will have plenty to do to get the space off the ground by the mid-July launch date. "We have a bunch of relationships already built with smaller vendors," he notes, "but we do need to apply for UNFI (United Natural Foods Inc.) contracts, and then we're going to do a small build-out. We don't have to make any structural changes, so we're mostly just installing shelves, getting refrigerators, painting, making it pretty."
Keep tabs on Nooch (named, by the way, after a common shortened name for nutritional yeast flakes, a good source of B12 and popular ingredient in vegan cooking) at www.noochveganmarket.com. LaBure will be launching a Kickstarter campaign soon, too, to help raise funds for the market, so herbivores in the city might want to keep their eyes on the website and their wallets close at hand so we can help make this dream a reality.