Plans are proceeding for the Electric City Food Co-op, which organizers hope will be open for business in July 2014.
“We’ve incorporated; we already have a tax ID number and a bank account,” reported co-op initiator Katherine Wolfram of Niskayuna.
She and fellow organizers envision the business will be open six days a week and will stock locally grown and produced items, as well as bulk foods and fair trade products not available from local producers.
• Learn more about the Electric City Food Co-op by visiting www.electriccityfoodcoop.com or find the organization on Facebook.
• To volunteer, contact organizers via the website or write to P.O. Box 1416, Schenectady, NY 12301-1416. Donations can be sent to that address as well.
Organizers hope to locate the business in a former freight station that most recently housed Grossman’s Bargain Outlet at 1410 Erie Blvd. The site is owned by Legere Restorations of Schenectady.
“I’m still looking around, and I just don’t see any other place. This is like the best place. It’s just so fabulous,” Wolfram said.
A space in the building has been offered to the co-op, but a lease has yet to be signed.
Wolfram has been working to bring the co-op to Schenectady since 2011 and has done extensive research to help ensure the project will be viable. Lately, she has been visiting other co-ops, talking to development consultants and volunteering at farms that have voiced interest in selling their products at the store.
“It’s going, it’s definitely going,” she said, of the startup effort.
The co-op now has an eight-member board of directors and has formed committees to tackle tasks such as fundraising. A membership drive is slated to kick off ideally by next month, but by September at the latest, Wolfram said.
Volunteers are being sought to help with fundraising and the membership drive.
Setting the groundwork for the co-op has been a labor-intensive process, said Carolyn Sabol, who serves as treasurer of the board.
“The bylaws took a lot of meetings. We wanted to get them absolutely right, the way that we wanted the co-op to work. It’s all the background footwork that needs to be done, and we’re progressing now,” she said.
The group’s fundraising committee is working on ways to generate cash to retrofit the space the store will occupy and pay for inventory and staffing.
“We don’t want to start off being cash-strapped,” Sabol said.