The story of the Columbus Food Co-op is one of passion and persistence. That’s the best way to describe a seven-year effort to open a member-owned grocery store that will follow the farm-to-market model.
The co-op’s persistence is paying off, with a letter of intent signed to lease an 8,400-square-foot renovated factory at 1580 Central Ave. as the store’s future location.
That’s certainly a relief for co-op members who have sought a retail home for years, including extensive negotiations for a location on 25th Street before that prospect fizzled in 2015.
This time appears different, however. For starters, the future landlords — John and Andrew Counceller — are co-op members themselves. Co-op officials also expect about half of the $2.1 million project to be funded by loans and investments by owners and public contributions, with the remainder secured from commercial lenders and a cooperative lender.
When the Columbus Food Co-op’s grocery store opens, currently projected for late 2018, it will represent a new offering in the city — a full-scale, member-owned grocery that features meat and produce grown within 100-150 miles of the city.
Public support has made this idea possible, as shown by the co-op’s membership of about 900 people. That’s admirable.
However, it’s the deep desire and dedication of co-op members to follow a vision for a store model they believe in that makes this milestone in their journey truly significant.