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By Kara Herlihy
Rootswork representative Megan Moffroid presented a preliminary business plan to members of the Warren Select Board for the East Warren Community Market. The consumer cooperative is set to occupy the town owned East Warren Schoolhouse building on Roxbury Mountain Road.
After hearing the presentation at a December 9 meeting, select board members praised the quality of the co-op business planning. Moffroid said the plan was assembled by mostly Rootswork board members and the process "wasn't easy."
MRG CO-OP MODEL
Moffroid said that the East Warren Community Market will follow the format of the Mad River Glen cooperative, hopefully garnering a membership base that will contribute and have a say in how the cooperative operates.
The store will have a separate board apart from the Rootswork organization, its own set of bylaws as well as separate bank accounts.
"We want to keep Rootswork separate from the market to maintain nonprofit status," Moffroid said.
So far, approximately $25,000 has been raised in donations. While no membership drive has happened yet, Moffroid said Rootswork is planning fund-raising events that "are key" to the business' success. She also assured that if the board is unsuccessful raising the funds to open the store, all donations will be refunded.
Funds can be donated through Rootswork's 501(c)(3) to benefit the store or directly donated in the name of the East Warren Community Market.
Moffroid said the cooperative is a way of "investing to have a store in our community" and "once we have a co-op, membership drives the bus."
Moffroid said the radio station will stay in its current location on the second floor of the schoolhouse; there will be WiFi internet, and possible light lunch opportunities. The hope, according to Moffroid, is to "bring the corner back to life."
The East Warren Schoolhouse was formerly occupied by Linda and Larry Faillace, who operated the Schoolhouse Market, until they were evicted by the Rootswork board in October of 2007.
The eviction resulted from contention over failed negotiations between the Rootswork board and their tenants, the Faillaces, which resulted in the board's refusal to renew their five-year lease.
Moffroid said that the Rootswork board hopes to see the new East Warren Community Market open and operational this winter.