A food co-op store, like the one in Middlebury, is being investigated in Ticonderoga. The town has received a Quality Communities Planning Grant from the New York Department of State to study the feasibility of creating a food co-op in the community.
A food co-op store is being investigated in Ticonderoga.
The town has received a Quality Communities Planning Grant from the New York Department of State to study the feasibility of creating a food co-op in the community.
“We’re more apt to get a co-op type store than a chain grocery store,” Ti Supervisor Deb Malaney said. “This will allow us to see what our options are.”
The town is working with the PRIDE of Ticonderoga on the study.
A food cooperative or food co-op is a grocery store owned, organized and operated by members. Since decisions about how to run a cooperative are not made by outside shareholders, cooperatives often exhibit a high degree of social responsibility with an emphasis on local, natural foods.
“The town will work on this along with PRIDE,” Malaney said. “We’ve hired a firm that set up the Middlebury co-op and others.”
The town has contracted with CDS Consulting Co-op to assess the market and financial feasibility of a project in Ticonderoga.
“The market study portion was completed in October and next week Bill Gessner, the lead consultant from CDS will be presenting the financial pro forma to a small group,” said Sharon Reynolds, PRIDE executive director. “Once we have received the entire product and summary of their findings, we will be sharing it with everyone.
“There is a lot to learn about the business of a consumer owned co-op and our hope is that this information will spark not only interest in supporting a co-op, but finding someone to step forward and lead the effort,” she added. “In the short time I’ve been with this project I’ve found it’s a huge undertaking and requires an active and interested community to support it.”
“CDS Consulting has worked with many co-ops, including the Middlebury co-op, and has developed a systematic approach to planning, implementation and new store projects,” Reynolds said.
Malaney hopes a Ticonderoga co-op can be similar to the Middlebury Natural Foods Cooperative. That store is open seven days a week 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Operated by a board of directors elected by membership, the Middlebury co-op emphasizes healthy foods, making a positive impact on the local economy and stresses environmentally sustainable and energy efficient practices.
The Middlebury Natural Foods Cooperative began in the early 1970s as a pre-order buying club. Its purpose was to provide members with wholesome, natural foods that were not available elsewhere. To maximize savings, members bought in bulk and packaged the food themselves. During the last 30 years, the co-op has expanded several times to include a store-front operation that is open to members and the public. It includes a prepared foods section and deli with indoor and outdoor seating.
At one time Ticonderoga had three commercial grocery stores. It now has one, Walmart.
Malaney said Ticonderoga officials have approached several grocery chains about locating in Ticonderoga, but have failed to attract any serious interest.