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Butte grocery co-op could take longer to get started

Posted at 12:49 PM, Jan 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-07 14:50:17-05

BUTTE — Butte still has big plans to start a community-owned grocery store, but it’s proving to be a bigger challenge.

“The more we dig into, the more we realize, ‘wow, there’s a lot of issue we weren’t even aware of’,” said Steve Thompson of the co-op steering committee.

The idea to start a cooperative grocery store somewhere in Uptown Butte was first proposed last June. It received support from hundreds of people but the steering committee needs to find a location before it can move forward.

“It’s really going depending on the location we find and what sort of arrangements we can make in terms of a lease, how much work might be done,” said Thompson.

Officials still need to set up a board of directors for the co-op and try to determine what kind of store they hope to build in Butte.

“Do we want to be a real grocery store for folks? Or do we want to be more of a bodega? Or just a neighborhood grocery store where you stop in and get a few items? Or do we want you to fill up your cart,” said Thompson.

Initial support for a co-op in Butte was so strong last summer, officials thought they would have one open by this spring. But now they say, that goal was too ambitious.

“It’s not going to happen as fast as we originally thought it would, but we feel like we’re doing are due diligence and the pieces are falling into place. We still got some hard decisions to make,” said Thompson.