Medford co-op opening moves to January

Medford's long-awaited, community-owned market of local and organic food won't debut before January.

Organizers previously had hoped to open the new Medford Food Co-op by the end of December, but approval of building permits hasn't proceed as quickly as expected, says Jim Sims, co-op president.

"It's hard to target exactly when it'll open because the city has to sign off on that," Sims says.

The co-op's building, at 945 S. Riverside Ave. in south Medford, has undergone interior demolition, but Medford-based contractor Batzer Construction can't begin new construction until the city checks off on the plans.

"We don't plan to do any renovations to the front of the building," Sims says. "If you drive by, you won't see anything happening, but the interior of the building has been completely dismantled."

The $250,000 in renovations are part of a lease agreement between Batzer, which owns the building, and co-op organizers.

Planning staff at the city of Medford were off Friday for the Thanksgiving holiday and were not available to comment on when the co-op's building permit might be issued.

Plans call for creating one high-ceilinged floor out of the building's two stories. Locations and appropriate electrical wiring are earmarked for machinery, refrigerators and freezers.

Co-op organizers have raised about $650,000 in shares, member loans and donations since a failed attempt to open a co-op in 2007. Members have purchased about 1,600 shares, Sims says.

Co-ops allow for member shoppers to share in the profits from sales in the grocery enterprise.

Project reports will soon be available at

Reach reporter Paris Achen at 541-776-4459 or e-mail

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