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Butte groups asking public to start food co-op Uptown

BUTTE – In the wake of losing two grocery stores in Butte, two non-profit groups are asking if it’s time to open a food cooperative here.

“A food cooperative, a community-owned grocery store, will only work if people embrace it,” said Steve Thompson of the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT).

NCAT and Headwaters RC&D will hold a public meeting next week to see if there’s interest in starting a community-owned store in the former Hennessy Market location on East Granite Street.

“It can be just a great hub for a community, it can support local farmers and ranchers and provide healthy, affordable food to a community,” said Thompson.

A co-op works by members of the community investing in the business.

“Just a small stake might be $30, $50 or $100 and you are a co-owner and it’s democratically controlled. Any profits stay with the owners, but it’s not an out-of-state corporation that’s owning it, it’s we the people right here in our own community,” said Thompson.

Organizers of this plan say this is a good time to start exploring the idea of opening a co-op here in Butte because they already have a location in mind and the cooperation of the owners of the building.

“We’ve been in touch with Nick and Jen Kujawa, who own this building and own all the equipment, they have been very supportive and patient to see if the community wants to pull together and acquire this business,” he said.

The public meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. Monday, June 10, in the ballroom of the Thornton Building at 65 East Broadway.

John Emeigh

John Emeigh

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