Coming Soon: Market Valley Cooperative?

By: Keith Jones Email
By: Keith Jones Email

It's been two years in the making, and Staunton may soon be home to a community grocery cooperative. The Valley Market Co-op plans to offer locally grown natural foods, but they need members.

The cooperative is a member owned and operated, not-for-profit organization. So for a store to open, they need all of Staunton's support.

"It is premised upon the members participating shopping and becoming a part of the co-op," says Acting General Manager Bob Hodge.

Hodge envisions a grocery store where the customer makes all the decisions. For an estimated $100 per season, they would get loads of local fruit and vegetables.

Area resident Chris Koski says, "I think it represents a great opportunity just to contribute to our community."

Koski says that it supports business at the local level, something you won't find at large grocery stores. He says his family likes the idea.

"Food that we also know where it comes from, particularly in this time when we see these beef recalls of 143 million pounds recently, it's probably a good idea to have a better idea of where the meat comes from," says Koski.

However, this isn't the only opinion. Laura Nordstrom is concerned about shopping at a co-op, specifically when it comes to stocking up on food.

She says, "The concerns that I would have as far as what they would have to offer and the variety and the supply that they would have to offer somebody who is busy and a working parent."

Hodge says that community input like this is very much a part of what the Valley Market Cooperative is all about, and they'll make changes as necessary.

He says, "One of the great benefits of cooperatives is that, again, it's community based, and it keeps all the money that is invested by the members of the co-op in the community."

The cooperative's Board of Directors are unsure about when the store will open. They say it depends on how many people become members.


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