Barre is an extraordinary community that is overflowing with compassion, empathy, and a sense of social responsibility. No matter how hard things get, our community has worked together to meet our own needs. It has always been that way. Since the granite boom, in the late 1800s, Barre has supported our community through co-ops. In 1900, the community built the Old Labor Hall to serve the political, economic, cultural, and social needs. In 1913, with our community flourishing and demand for fresh-baked goods skyrocketing, the Union Cooperative Store Bakery Building annex was built. Its wood-fired oven is still baking artisan bread today.
After the closure of the Old Labor Hall, through the hard times in the 1930s, radical politics in the ’70s, and the organic product movement in the ’90s, there has been one glaring hole overlooked. Our community lacks an affordable, convenient, local source of healthy food. Granite City Grocery, a member-owned, democratically governed, grocery cooperative, is on a mission to change that. Granite City Grocery incorporated in July of 2012. What started as a small group of Barre residents immediately gained over 300 member-owners. Soon after, a founding board was seated funding secured for a market study. Since then, we have met with potential developers to discuss the next steps. Every one of those developers has asked us to prove sustained membership growth and to show that we will have the resources needed to make your grocery store a success. While no specific number of memberships were set, thanks to the help of dedicated volunteers and an amazing community, we are on the right track.