Co-Op Grocery Store Hopes to Raise Funds Through Membership

logo-w-sunburstKayla Desroches/KMXT

A co-op grocery store is trying to get off the ground and will hold a kick-off event this weekend to draw members.

Merissa Koller Williams is the board president for the Kodiak Harvest Cooperative, a group trying to put together a community-owned grocery store downtown.

“We have to have 500 members in order to really even start negotiating for a site or talking to banks. It’s probably going to a $5 million dollar project, so we have to have a certain number of members before we even get started. So, if it takes us a year to get all the members we need, than that pushes our project back. If it takes us a month, then we’re ready to go.”

Koller Williams says the cooperative’s goal is to sign up 100 members between 6 and 10 p.m. at the kick-off Saturday, and if it meets that goal, it will receive a donation from the Food Co-op Initiative, which specializes in helping cooperatives get started.

Koller Williams says a lifetime membership per household is $150. Members vote for who joins the cooperative’s Board of Directors and will eventually get member discounts as well as member dividends based on how much the family spends at the grocery store annually. Interested residents can sign up at the kick-off Saturday.

The event will feature a talk from a member of the Fairbanks Co-op Market, a silent auction, and local food.

“We had a couple ladies on our committee who reached out to community members and had produce donated as well as wild game and seafood, so we’ve had everything from kale to potatoes to onions donated, and we’ve got salmon donated from the fishing vessel North Star.”

The Kodiak High School culinary students will cater.

The kick-off will be Saturday from 6 to 10 p.m. at the convention center and will be free and open to the public. It’ll also have a Halloween theme, so Koller Williams encourages arriving in costume.

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