News From Terre Haute, Indiana

October 26, 2012

Terre Foods hopes to have store by 2014

Brian Boyce
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — The little co-op that could keeps chugging along as organizers say they hope to have a store in 2014.

Organizers of the Terre Foods Cooperative Market met Wednesday evening for their fifth annual membership meeting, updating stakeholders about progress made toward opening an organic food cooperative store.

Chris Weber, board president, said the organization currently has 471 members, shy of the 600 needed before work with a bank can begin.

“We’re right on track where we want to be,” he said after the meeting. Now in its fifth year, the movement to establish a locally owned cooperative food store has generated a considerable amount of awareness, and leaders hope to convert that into action in coming months. “All start-up cooperatives have the same obstacles we have.”

Still, national cooperative organizers deemed Terre Haute to be among the top 10 markets in the country for establishing such a store, he said.

Robyn Morton, board member and one of the early founders, acknowledged that the national economy in recent years hasn’t been the most giving of times for investment. On the other hand, stores which opened just before the market crash were in for a rude awakening later, she said.

Still, getting members to sign up for a store which doesn’t yet exist has been the lingering problem, she said.

“It’s getting people to sign on,” she said, adding the community remains excited about the project and she expects strong growth once the doors open. “We’re so close it’s obscene.”

Board member Andrew Conner likewise remains optimistic about the group’s plans. An entrepreneur making his own brand of ice cream, “Forbidden Flavors,” he’s selling his product in cooperative markets in Bloomington and Indianapolis with hopes of seeing it on the shelves of Terre Foods some day.

“We may have been a little over-optimistic in the beginning, hoping to open it up that fast,” he said. “But we’re on the right track.”

Brian Boyce can be reached at 812-231-4253 or brian.boyce@tribstar.com.

• For more information on Terre Foods Cooperative Market can be found by email at info@terrefoods.org or by going to their web site at www.terrefoods.org.