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A Showcase for Local Products: Cooper's Public Market

By Julia Van Soelen Kim, North Bay Food Systems Advisor

Locally grown produce displayed at Cooper's Public Market
Locally grown produce displayed at Cooper's Public Market

Cooper's Public Market, owned and operated by Marin County native, Dennis Cooper, is a small family owned market on Grant Street in downtown Novato. Cooper’s sells organically grown and sustainably raised fruits, vegetables, dairy, eggs, meats, bread, honey, and other staples produced within 30 miles of Novato.

Dennis, who grew up in Novato, moved away as a young adult during which time he increasingly got interested in the locavore movement and continued to seek out food from his home county. When he moved back to Novato in 2008 with his family, he was disappointed to find that it wasn’t much easier to buy Marin County food in Marin, and if he really wanted to seek out locally produced products, he needed to drive to local farms and read grocery store labels closely.

Dennis and his wife, parents to a young son, talked often about the idea of opening up their own market that would feature local products. Dennis explains, “We were very serious about it, but it was always a ‘someday’ idea.” Then his wife was diagnosed with cancer, passing away in 2012. For Dennis, this resulted in two things that made him feel the time was right to open up his own market. First, quality of life quickly came into focus and working for someone else—even at a job that he enjoyed—paired with a long commute in and out of San Francisco, no longer felt right. He wanted the opportunity to have a job where he could be close to his son and rooted in his community. Second, his wife’s illness overlaid another important aspect, “the importance of organically produced food for the health of our own bodies and for the health of our environment.”

Dennis Cooper and son in front of Cooper's Public Market
Dennis Cooper and son in front of Cooper's Public Market
This winter, Dennis opened the doors to Cooper’s Public Market, with a clear vision for the market to serve as a showcase for local farm fresh products from within 30 miles of Novato. The market has a small but interesting and fun selection of goods, presented in bountiful table displays. The shop is light, airy, and very welcoming. The market features everything shoppers need to prepare quick and healthy meals, and for those who need a little inspiration, the market even offers meals in a bag from White Rose Ranch, complete with a recipe and all the necessary ingredients. Dennis works with a local chef at Sprouted Heart to provide handmade organic foods that are also gluten free including granola and croutons—“to die for”—and homemade soups made with ingredients from the market. The market also features gifts and specialty products including handmade jewelry, flavored salts from All Star Organics, and natural beauty products, all made locally. In the coming weeks, Dennis is preparing to open a coffee cart, and with time, he hopes to be able to serve hot prepared foods for the lunchtime crowd and eventually, maybe even a butcher shop and café with patio seating.

Dennis offered that the community’s response has been great. Many older folks in the community remark that the market reminds them of how they used to shop. He also explains that for the market to really work, it will take a small shift in thinking with shoppers visiting Cooper’s Public Market first to get their fresh local items, and then continuing on with the rest of their day’s errands.

Cooper’s Public Market is open seven days a week at 1425 Grant Avenue conveniently located in downtown Novato. Stop by to support our many Marin County producers and a new locally owned business.

Lemon and fresh herb croutons from Sprouted Heart along with bountiful seasonal produce
Lemon and fresh herb croutons from Sprouted Heart along with bountiful seasonal produce


Monday - Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.


1425 Grant Avenue, Novato, CA 94947


(415) 895-1780

More Information:

Visit www.cooperspublicmarket.com for weekly newsletter updates and store specials.

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Follow @coopersmarket on Twitter