She said that meshes with the experiences of other natural-foods co-ops in similar market situations.
The Ticonderoga area has only one grocery store, the food department within the Ticonderoga Wal-Mart SuperCenter at the Four Corners, but that could be beneficial to a local co-op, Reynolds said.
“Wal-Mart can attract more food-store shoppers into the co-op’s vicinity, and co-op shoppers can supplement their weekly grocery purchases at a conventional grocery store.”
The second phase of the study did a sales forecast analysis on three possible downtown sites. That was based on numerous factors, including store format, promotion, trade area and customer service.
“The key factor was the assumption that there be a level of store management that is knowledgeable and experienced, with a significant amount of market and marketing savvy,” said Reynolds.
The study was funded by a $20,000 State Quality Communities Grant submitted by the Town of Ticonderoga.
The reason such co-ops take several years to get running is because they’re essentially a volunteer effort, Ticonderoga Town Supervisor Debra Malaney said.
“The starting time is due to the fact that co-ops are a true grassroots effort, they are community-based, and they depend on individuals to be the organizers and planners.”
What they need to do now is educate those who are interested on how a co-op is set up, Reynolds said.
“The idea is for everyone to meet and to learn about cooperatives and how they function in a community. This would be a grassroots effort like no other, and we need energetic individuals who are passionate about access to fresh, local, organic and healthy food.
“We are planning to invite the general manager from the Middlebury Natural Foods Cooperative to talk with us about his start-up experience.”
A food co-op in an area like Ticonderoga would take about 600 subscribers to support its operation. At some point, they’ll be signing people up, Reynolds said.
Reynolds said they’ve been talking with SUNY Plattsburgh Assistant Professor Curt Gervich about having his class in environmental management go to Ticonderoga to do further research into the feasibility or alternatives to a co-op food store.
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