Retail

Natural foods co-op advances

By: LOHR McKINSTRY

TICONDEROGA — Organizers of a proposed natural-foods cooperative here are looking for places that could offer about 1,000 square feet of space for the operation.

A recent meeting of the food co-op group determined that’s about the optimum space needed for the store, PRIDE of Ticonderoga Executive Director Sharon Reynolds said.

She said they want to conduct a community survey to find out who would join a food cooperative.

“It was agreed that surveys should be developed over the next few weeks to be sent both electronically and via surface mail to our proposed service area residents,” she said by email.

PRODUCT SOURCES

Reynolds said members have split into groups to research five aspects of a food co-op: legal, financial, sourcing, education and fundraising.

“The Sourcing Committee has been compiling product sources from local farmers, buyers clubs, CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture farms), food hubs and other distributors, and we’ll be working on a comprehensive list to share with everyone.”

The group’s next meeting is set for 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 16, at the TiNY Wellness Center next to the Ticonderoga Area Chamber of Commerce. All co-op meetings are open to the public.

Members will be visiting other food co-ops in the coming months and reporting on how they’re run, Reynolds said.

“Information from a visit to the Stone Valley Community Market in Poultry, Vt., was discussed,” she said. “We would like everyone to consider visiting co-ops throughout their travels, ask questions, pick up marketing materials to share with us and take photos if possible. 

“The information obtained from these visits is extremely valuable.”

DOWN THE ROAD

The next step is to incorporate, apply for a sales-tax number and write bylaws, she said.

“Looking down the road and after we have pulled together much more information on the feasibility of a food co-op in Ticonderoga, we will plan to schedule meetings with civic organizations and community groups for the purpose of getting feedback from a broad-based constituency.”

Reynolds said they’ve decided the co-op’s charter members must also be investors in the start-up operation, and among the major expenses will be equipment and inventory.

The closest other food co-op is 45 minutes away in Middlebury, Vt., Reynolds said. 

She said it would take about 600 subscribers to establish one in an area like Ticonderoga and support its operation.

No opening date would be set, she added, until all the advance work is finished.

To get involved in the effort, email reynolds at sreynolds@prideofticonderoga.org.

Email Lohr McKinstry:lmckinstry@pressrepublican.com

Published: