SPRINGFIELD, Vt. – The Springfield Food Co-op is looking to expand its operation with the purchase of the People’s United Bank building located in downtown Springfield. The bank would remain in the building and continue with full service to their customers.
After the original co-op, named The Pantry, had closed after a five-year run, the Springfield Co-op was opened in 1992 on Chester Road. Then in 1995, the co-op reopened at its current location at 335 River St. The operation has steadily grown over the years and is now warranting a larger location.
“Our Board of Directors and management team have been working on an expansion plan for a couple years now,” co-op general manager Neomi Lauritsen said. “In our 2015 customer survey, the number one request was for a larger store with café seating.”
Other customer requests on the survey included increased deli options, more local products, and overall space in the store. In order for this idea to become reality, however, the co-op needed to achieve a sales growth to support the plan. In 2017, when the said growth met the goal, the organization was able to take a more serious look at the possibility of an expansion.
“The expansion and relocation to downtown is a work in progress,” Lauritsen said. “We have a good estimate of what the project will cost and have been pursuing options for financing. These options will be generated from our member owners, and our many partners in Springfield and the state of Vermont.”
The co-op is currently conducting a capitol campaign drive where their Vermont members are able to purchase preferred shares. Out-of-state members are able to donate through their fiscal agent, Springfield On The Move, and receive a tax deduction. Additionally, grants have been applied for and commercial lending may also be in the mix as well.
“Our retail operation would grow from 2,100 square feet to 4,300 square feet. This would include a larger store, café seating area, and expanded offerings, and will also allow us to offer a commercial kitchen, as well as educational classes. The board of directors, staff and myself are all excited about the relocation and we are being careful about the expansion,” Lauritsen concluded.
“We want the very best Springfield Food Co-op store for our members and staff, and community support will be vital for this project. The co-op board and management have tapped into the many resources we have for consultation and feedback on our plan. Our ultimate goal is to have the new Springfield downtown store opened in April of 2020.”
For more information, visit www.springfieldfood.coop or call 802-885-3363.