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July 17, 2013

Terre Foods planning next step after reaching membership goal

TERRE HAUTE — A dream in 2008 started by a handful of people has accumulated enough community support to go forward with plans to begin a full-service co-op grocery store.

That dream started in Robyn Morton’s living room. She now is vice president of the board for Terre Foods.

“We got tired of not having access to local foods,” Morton said. “We want to support local farmers and keep dollars flowing in this area.”

Terre Foods surpassed its goal of 600 members July 11 during the Blueberry Festival, Morton said. That enabled the group to receive financing from local banks and to have enough members to start a capital campaign — a voluntary investment program for members.  

Morton said Terre Foods is working with a $1.6 million budget. It is likely to increase because the budget includes the first fiscal year of operation.

“Hiring a general manager, finding a store site, designing the layout — none of that could’ve happened without getting community support,” Morton added. “Now we have confidence in securing an adequate amount of financing to run the grocery store.”

Various store sites are being considered based on price, location and parking accessibility. Terre Foods is looking for an area between 5,000 and 7,000 square feet with 4,000 square feet of retail space — considerably smaller than big-name supermarkets. Morton said a building at Seventh and Poplar streets is being “highly considered,” as are other locations in the downtown and northern Terre Haute areas.

“Finding a location is tricky because we need a spacious parking lot so people don’t have to push a cart four blocks from the store,” Morton added.

The projected time of completion, she said, is late summer of 2014. Work on the store would begin at least by December of this year, she said.  

Terre Food also hopes to reach 1,000 members by the time the doors open at the new store, she said.

“I’m not too worried about reaching that goal,” she said. “Once people see that we are opening a co-op store, we will surpass that goal.”

A store general manager still needs to be brought on, she said. A more specific employment packet will be developed within the next few months.

She added that any vendor who would like to supply the store with goods should reach out for Terre Foods to be kept up to date.

For more information on the general manager position or to be added to the list of potential vendors, you can email Morton at robyn@

terrefoods.org or visit its website at www.terrefoods.org.

Reporter Dustyn Fatheree can be reached at 812-231-4255 and dustyn.fatheree@tribstar.com.

 

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