LINDSAY – A large crowd showed their support for Lindsay’s Co-op Market – now that same crowd must stick together.
More than 90 people showed up at the annual meeting recently, some buying stock to help pay for repairs, including a new roof and storefronts.
Owner Larry Temme said he was impressed with the number of people who attended the meeting.
“I thought it was really good,” he said. “Just the fact that there were over 80 people there (actually), that alone meant quite a bit, I thought. A lot of the younger generation was there.
However, to keep the store running in Lindsay, people need to make shopping a priority.
“One of the comments from one of the board members is that some of these people don’t shop with us, so maybe that’s a good thing (the younger residents were there),” he declared.
“February was really good,” Temme said. “It was a little better than last year, but in March we had the week where everyone in Humphrey and Lindsay was in state basketball, and that’s a good thing.”
Temme, however, remains cautious about the store’s future.
“The bar has been sold, and I know a lot of our revenue is from alcohol sales, so I’m still a bit concerned, but we’ll see how it goes,” he said.
How it goes depends on improving sales.
“I hope they respond, that’s really all a guy can do,” he said.
The cooperative market has a long and storied history with Lindsay.
According to the store’s story provided in the Humphrey Democrat, the grocery store closed in January 2004, and soon after, residents of the community decided they missed the store very much and wanted it back. A group of people from Lindsay formed a small committee and held home meetings with the families to see if there was enough interest.
There were about 40-50 home meetings before the committee decided there was enough interest.
In August 2004, Jeff and Twila Alderson approached the committee about the store. They had a store in Madison and North Bend and were ready to run it. At that time it was decided to form a cooperative and sell shares and ask for donations.
On November 19, 2004, the store was purchased from Bank of Lindsay. Public meetings were held with families and the committee went door-to-door, and families bought shares at $500 each) or made donations. The amount discussed and needed to start the project was $100,000 to purchase the building and cover the expenses necessary to commission the store.
A 10-person council was formed on August 13, 2004, with five members remaining.
There are annual meetings in March with re-elections for each position every five years.
A year after the store closed – February 9, 2005 – $111,000 was raised to begin the renovation. This amount came from 125 shareholders, some buying multiple shares and also cash donations.
Old equipment was replaced with new and used equipment. The renovation consisted of gutting the entire store, replacing the drywall, painting, installing new windows, flooring and doors, rebuilding the staircase back to the original staircase and adding the new sign groceries at the front of the store.
New and used coolers were purchased as well as new shelves. Thanks to over 100 volunteers of all ages, seniors, middle-aged and school children all gave their time to this project and put in many hours.
There were the cleaners, the painters and the shelf stockers, as well as many other jobs.