COLUMBUS, Ind. — Organizers of a cooperative grocery planned for Columbus have hired local architect Tip Scott and are testing potential names for the co-op, but they still must raise another $300,000 before the operation can open its doors.
SaraBeth Drybread, community outreach coordinator for the co-op, said the group had raised $200,000 so far since the beginning of a membership loan drive in September. Organizers are trying out names such as Columbus Community Market.
Backers of a Columbus co-op are taking advice from operators of similar sized co-ops, such as one in Paoli, who have suggested that $500,000 and 900 members are good starting points, Drybread said. Columbus’ co-op has 557 members and a goal of 850 before its planned opening in May 2013, she said.
Co-op member David Kadlec, who moved to Columbus from Indianapolis last year, said he hoped to see a cooperative grocery store in Columbus because he remembered the way “thriving” co-ops benefited Minneapolis, where he grew up.
Co-ops serve as community meeting places, bring healthy food options to residents, and help to expand and support the local economy, he said.
“It’s like the best grocery store that you could ever find,” Kadlec said.
Yu-Han Huang, a dietitian and Columbus co-op volunteer, said she was looking forward to the increased access to fresh produce that the co-op would provide.
Drybread said community members can meet with co-op organizers every Saturday starting this weekend at the downtown Columbus Farmer’s Market, which has moved to the parking lot between Mill Race Park and the Cummins Corporate Office Building.
Construction at the co-op’s downtown Columbus location at 315 Sixth St., the building behind Viewpoint Books, is also set to begin this summer, she said.
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