Co-op Hits $1 Million Mark

-A A +A
By Carol A. Clark

“We have done it! This community provided the funding, the heart and the soul to make the store a reality,” said President Nancy Savoia of the Los Alamos Cooperative Market board of directors.
The co-op has raised more than $1 million from member loans and member investment certificates as of Dec. 31. All financing for the new natural foods grocery store has been raised from local member households, now totaling 712.
General Manager Steve Watts anticipates that the store will open in just a few weeks.
“It should be ready by late February,” Watts said. “We’re very excited and just $55,000 from hitting all of our fundraising goals, which will allow us to run the business for the next three to five years. You can’t help but feel good about this community not only talking the talk – but walking the walk.”
Watts has hired his first three department heads and Savoia said that the board is thrilled the store will be providing 14 full time and 14 part time local jobs, equating to more than $500,000 in wages.
Taylor Cardon works for SG Western Construction, Inc., and serves as general manager on the project. He said this year’s warmer weather that ran in the 40s and 50s through mid December allowed much work to be completed including exterior stuccoing on the building and asphalting the parking lot.
“Normally the cut off date for those projects is mid October,” Cardon said. “The really unique aspect to this project is that we had more than 100 hours of volunteer work on the building – many board members and others donated their time.”
Acting County Administrator Randy Autio discussed the addition of a food co-op in Los Alamos County.
“I think an additional store that offers food shopping options for people in Los Alamos is a wonderful thing and we wish the co-op much success,” Autio said.
Board Vice President Karen Kendall said memberships are available for $250 for founding lifetime household membership and $30 for annual membership Although everyone is welcome to shop at the store, there are benefits of membership such as product discounts, member discount days and patronage dividends.
“It has been amazing to watch the store being built and finally realizing our five year dream of bringing Los Alamos a healthy alternative for local and organic products and produce,” Kendall said.
The 7,000 square foot natural food grocery store will include a deli, fresh local and organic produce, meat, fish, bulk, frozen food, and a health and wellness department. The co-op also will offer indoor and outdoor seating, a kiva for additional outdoor seating and a bell tower.
Developers Sam Gardner and Rick Reiss have worked from the project’s inception to help bring the co-op to Los Alamos.
“Sam and I are excited to participate in a community project that has such broad-based support as evidenced by the more than 700 members involved to date,” Reiss said.
To learn more, visit www.los