New Chapter for the Yahara River Grocery Cooperative

Posted Friday, March 20, 2009 --- 8:50 a.m.

A local Co-op gets a second chance at life.

The Yahara River Grocery Cooperative held their grand re-opening in Stoughton Friday. The store opened in March, but by October they were almost out of business.

They changed management, got help from the Willy Street Co-op, and earned a low interest loan from the county. Now their business is running strong.

And they have some suggestions for anyone thinking about starting a new business.

"Take your time," said Deb Piper with the Co-op. "We were trying to get this store open early after the previous second store in Stoughton closed. We took about 18 months, we probably needed a little more time than that and a little better understanding of what our market was in stoughton."

The Co-op employs eight people who are now able to keep their jobs.

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Posted Friday, March 20, 2009 --- 8:50 a.m.

Press release from the office of the Dane County Executive:

A ribbon-cutting Friday marks the start of a new chapter for the Yahara River Grocery Cooperative in Stoughton. Thanks in part to generous private donations, hard work by the co-op supporters, and an economic development loan from the Dane County Revolving Loan Fund, the locally-owned store will continue to serve Stoughton area citizens.

“Helping make sure the Yahara River Grocery Cooperative stays open accomplishes exactly what we created this county fund to do: invest in local businesses and create jobs in our communities,” County Executive Kathleen Falk said.

The Yahara River Grocery Cooperative received a $60,000 loan from the Dane County Revolving Loan Fund. The county’s fund utilizes federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to support the creation and expansion of locally owned businesses with a focus on job retention and creation.

Co-op leaders and community supporters representing Stoughton’s year-old grocery successfully raised over $30,000 in private donations and have developed a business plan to expand the store’s product selection and long term viability.

The county’s loan will provide the Yahara River Grocery Cooperative working capital for expanded inventory and marketing, additional staffing, and new store features such as a meat department and deli counter. In addition, the Yahara River Grocery Cooperative will retain current staff members and create three new positions.


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