Medford Market revives effort to establish co-op

The Medford Market board will present three sites and a proposed budget at an owners' meeting Monday, initiating a second effort to open a food cooperative downtown.

The meeting, at 6 p.m. at the Central Library, 205 S. Central Ave., is open to Medford Market food cooperative owners and the public.

Board president and City Councilman John Statler said the six-member board is trying to revive support for the cooperative.

"We're looking for an affirmation from the owners, a confirmation that we should proceed," Statler said.

"We're really excited at where we are: back at having great potential. We want to let owners know that and seek their support."

Spaces the board will consider for the proposed new food co-op include: the former Value Village site in Bear Creek Plaza, 1000 Biddle Road; 1113 Progress Drive, formerly Castle Superstore; and 4 W. Third St., formerly Ferguson, a plumbing supply distributor.

Each location fits the criteria laid out by the co-op board in July: a space of about 9,000 square feet within two miles of downtown with at least 50 parking spaces.

The board will discuss pros and cons of each site, board member John Miele said.

"Of course we're always receptive to positive input, and suggestions as to a suitable site are always welcome," said Miele.

The board also will present a budget, which includes figures for start-up and operating costs. Miele declined to release information on the budget until the meeting.

Also on the agenda is a discussion of the cooperative's structure and the role of owners, Miele said.

Statler said the board is more equipped for a second effort to open the cooperative because of recent training. Board member Louise Dix will make a presentation about conferences she attended with the Northwest Cooperative Development Center and Cooperative Development Services.

Statler said support for the Medford Market is strong, despite little recent communication between owners and the board.

The market's approximately 1,100 members received a letter from the board in July, the first communication since the board of the first cooperative dissolved in November.

"We're out to re-energize and re-invigorate that support," he said.

The first effort to open a food cooperative in Medford stalled when a loan request fell through in August 2007 and the organization dissolved its one-year lease on the Hubbard's Ace Hardware building at Main Street and Riverside Avenue.

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