GCG to Bring Affordable, Fresh, & Healthy Food Back to Downtown Barre

This is our call to action. Please share this message with your friends, neighbors, coworkers and family!  Note: the message is written in the first person!  Thank you for spreading the word!
     Since Grand Union closed its doors in 2001, downtown Barre has been without a grocery store. That's 13 years! It's hard to believe, but Barre is the largest city in Vermont without a full-scale downtown grocery store.
     It's a problem that needs a solution.  Studies show that grocery stores are a vital component of a vibrant and healthy community.  They not only provide the sustenance of life; they fill the role of economic driver, community builder, employer and meeting place.
     With Main Street reconstruction just a few years behind us, our community is already experiencing an amazing transformation.  It's an exciting time to be living here.  But, a downtown grocery store remains one of the missing pieces to the puzzle.  
     Nearly 2 years ago, after it became clear that no independent or chain grocer was willing to set up shop in downtown Barre, a core group of community members decided to take matters into their own hands. They - and now 400 other community members - have come together to do what over 250 other communities nationwide that lack a grocery store are doing right now:  co-operate. 
     Granite City Grocery is a growing co-operative with the goal of opening a grocery store in downtown Barre.  A co-operative is a tried and true, proven business model that allows community members to pool small amounts of money to meet pretty impressive challenges (think credit unions, electric co-ops, agricultural co-ops).  Some say that a food co-op isn't a good match for Barre because they think it means 100% organic and natural foods.  But, co-operatives aren't about what's on the shelves. They are a powerful form of local business ownership. What goes on the shelves will be up to us; by its very nature, our co-op will reflect our community's needs.
     We are taking this effort seriously, working diligently and responsibly. We secured grant funds and community donations early on to hire a nationally-recognized group of food co-op experts to guide us through this process.  We have an elected board of directors responsible for stewarding our dollars, a professional market study in hand, three top downtown locations waiting in the wings, and a workable financial model.  In the 9 months since we started selling owner shares, over 400 community members have stepped up to the plate. And, I'm one of them.
     Ultimately it will take 1,200 to 1,500 owners plus a good chunk of public and private financing to make Granite City Grocery a reality. While that may seem daunting, consider we're already a third of the way there and that with just 400 more owners we can reach the next exciting benchmark in our journey - securing a site.  Come. Join us. Now IS the time to become an owner.  Together, you and I can be a part of bringing affordable, fresh and healthy food back to downtown Barre.


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