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Momentum building for Los Alamos Cooperative Market

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By Carol A. Clark

More than 350 people have become members of the Los Alamos Cooperative Market to date.

Even more joined Saturday when co-op movers and shakers conducted tours for nearly 100 people at the store’s building site in Entrada Business Park, just west of De Colores Restaurant near the Airport Basin.

“It’s going to be a full grocery store with a deli, meat counter, canned and frozen foods as well as health and beauty products,” co-op Vice President Karen Kendall said.

A lot of the people who sell products at the Farmers’ Market will be suppliers, said Board President Nancy Savoia.

“Memberships are the way people can help us open our doors,” Savoia said. “Members are owners; similar to the La Montanita in Santa Fe.”

Board Treasurer Kathy Campbell explains that the co-op will be capitalized by lifetime memberships, member loans and member investment.

“The member loan program is in essence how we raise our down payment,” Campbell said. “Interest will accumulate over four years and payments will start in six years, so we’ll be paying back the interest and loan in 10 years.”

The co-op board has been working closely with consultant, C.E. Pugh of the National Cooperative Grocers’ Association who has been working with developers Sam Gardner and Rick Reiss to develop specifications for the building and financial agreements.

Los Alamos National Bank has provided a formal letter of interest based on the developed plans, Kendall said.

The target date for opening the co-op is within 14 months.

The mission of the Cooperative is to serve Los Alamos County and surrounding communities by providing fairly priced, wholesome foods and other goods in an ecologically sustainable, socially responsible and economically appropriate manner.

The co-op will further strive to emphasize food for people, not for profit; to maintain a high standard of quality for the products it sells and to foster the development of northern New Mexican growers and producers through its purchasing policies.

The co-op intends to employ a democratic and cooperative governance structure and ethical business practices; to promote fairness, participation, and empowerment in the workplace and the community; to work to encourage and implement appropriate environmental practices.

The co-op also intends to promote awareness about food, nutrition, health, and cooperative values; and to be responsive and accountable to the community it serves.

Other co-op board members include Secretary Andrew Erickson and members Paul Frederickson, Joanna Gardner, Cecile Hemez, Marguerite McClay and Jane Riese.       

The co-op’s advisory committee includes President Steve Wells of Los Alamos National Bank, local business owner Brad Burke, Executive Director Kevin Holsapple of the Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation, LANL Mathematician Mac Hyman, local business manager Antonio Maggiore, Attorney Ann Norton, LANL Physicist Sue Seestrom, Director Patrick Sullivan of the Small Business Development Center and Phil Vergamini and Nora Haskin, founders of the Permaculture Credit Union.

The Los Alamos Cooperative Market is incorporated as a “domestic cooperative association” under New Mexico Law.

The Articles of Incorporation became effective Feb. 28, 2007. Bylaws were officially adopted in May 2007.

To learn more about the co-op and to become a member, access www.lacoopmarket.com.

Contact Carol A. Clark at lanews@lamonitor.com or (505) 662-4185 ext. 25. Read her newsblog at www.newsextras.wordpress.com.