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Co-op set to open in new building on June 14

BRATTLEBORO—A published copy of the new book will not be ready in time for the Co-op’s planned move into its sparkling new quarters.

Long time Co-op Manager Alex Gyori emphasizes that the opening plans are subject to change, but if current plans prevail, on June 12, the retail store will close early at 7 p.m. and will remain closed all day June 13.

Opening day in the new quarters is planned for June 14.

At the store for 30 years, Gyori, precise and intense, seems to look upon this major move with calm.

He remembers when the co-op’s current quarters was purchased from Mary and Dan Cassidy’s Bast Corporation for $1.7 million in the mid-1970s with the intention of turning the place into what it eventually became. Gyori came on board a year or two after the store opened and has been there ever since.

About 10 years ago, when it became clear to Gyori and others that something needed to be done to freshen up the space and its contents, staff and shareholders met to figure it out.

“In 2002,” Gyori reported “there was some talking of moving into the old Grand Union on Putney Road.” Other ideas about expanding and renovating were considered.

“There were four choices,” he said: one, to do nothing; two, to partially renovate; three, to completely renovate the old store; and four, to build a new building.”

The decision to build was made in 2008 and building began in 2010.

“We’ll still be the Co-op but we’re going to expand,” he said. “We will offer a broader selection of many items, including rotisserie chicken and pizza. The café will be larger and include a patio. I want a broader range in general, as well as expanding the bulk and wellness departments.”

The new Brattleboro Co-op retail space on the first floor is 14,000 square feet, an increase of about 3,000 square feet over the area of the current store. The second floor will be home to the Co-op’s offices and the store’s kitchen.

The top two floors contain 24 apartments, some for low-cost housing, some market rate.

Gyori says the store employs 165 and generates just under $17 million annually. There are 5,908 active shareholders and 1,097 inactive.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #155 (Wednesday, June 6, 2012).

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