Co-op Market will Fill the Need for a Grocery Store Downtown
April 7, 2011 – Fairbanks, Alaska – Golden Valley Electric Association (GVEA) Board of Directors recently passed a resolution approving the submission of an application for a $300,000 economic development grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The grant will be used by GVEA to establish a revolving economic development loan fund in Fairbanks. Fairbanks Community Cooperative Market, (Co-op Market) has been selected as the first loan recipient. To secure the grant, GVEA will provide $60,000 in matching funds from their unclaimed capital credit fund. It is proposed that the revolving loan will be administered by Fairbanks Economic Development Corporation.
The Rural Economic Development Grant, available only to utility cooperatives, is administered by the USDA Rural Utilities Service. The purpose is to provide low interest financing for projects that will create and retain employment in rural areas. This loan fund will remain in the community as it is repaid and re-loaned for future projects.
“This is a wonderful precedent for the state, creating critical infrastructure that will provide a market for agricultural products,” said Chad Stovall, Business and Energy Specialist with USDA’s Rural Development office in Palmer.
Co-op Market members are developing plans for a full-service grocery store emphasizing organic and whole food, local food and other healthy products. The store will start out with 6000 square feet in the former Foodland grocery market at 546 Gaffney Road. According to Robert Leach, Chairman of the Co-op Market Board of Directors, this project represents economic development in the hands of local control.
This member-owned cooperative food store will create 15 to 20 jobs in year one and over 30 jobs by year five. It will provide a market that will spur agricultural development, strengthen the local economy, and fill the need for a grocery store in downtown Fairbanks.
Co-op Market is a grocery store established by member-owners to serve the Fairbanks area. They now have 1059 member-owners and are aiming for 1500 member-owners by opening. Contact Mary Christensen or Robert Leach, at 457-1023 for information.
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