The Menomonie Market co-op project in downtown Eau Claire is a year into its development agreement approval with the city of Eau Claire, and construction progress is picking up. The walls are up, the roof is starting to be installed, and in the next month, critical lines will be dug into the floor of the building, priming for floor pouring. Soon after, co-op staff will have access to the space.
Initial plans were for the 14,000-square-foot store and deli to open in the fall of 2023, and construction is ongoing to try to meet that goal. The store will include a deli and indoor seating on each of its two floors where customers can enjoy food, a rooftop event space, as well as 50 parking spaces.
Once the flooring is poured, which should be completed within the next month, additional installations will take place within the walls that already stand at the corner of North Barstow and Galloway streets. After that will come energy efficient coolers, industrial kitchen, shelving and much more. Plus, the new store will get a new addition that’s coming to Menomonie even sooner: self-checkouts.
The Menomonie store (814 E. Main Street, Menomonie) is expected to welcome self-checkout sometime this spring in addition to its full-service lanes, and both options will be available at the new Eau Claire location.
“When I asked around, people seemed to have pretty strong feelings about self-control; they either like it and clap their hands excitedly, or they share feelings about the way the world is becoming less personal,” said Crystal Halvorson, the co-op’s general manager, in a recent newsletter.
Following the merger of Menomonie Market Co-op and Just Local Foods in 2021, plans have surfaced for a new store in downtown Eau Claire, with the co-op eventually seeking to sell $2 million worth of preferred stock — or Class C stock – in support of a project. The current investment totals more than $1.7 million, according to the latest newsletter.
Up to 4,000 Class C stock certificates, sold in $500 shares, were granted nationwide. At the end of February, approximately $35,000 in dividends were distributed to more than 350 investors.
“(This) money goes directly back into the hands of our owners, the people who shop in our stores and are committed to growing our local food-based economy,” Halvorson explained.
“THIS WAY OF RAISING MONEY FOR THE PROJECT BENEFITS BOTH THE INVESTORS AND THE COOPERATION.”
COOP MENOMONIE MARKET GENERAL MANAGER
“This way of raising money for the project benefits both the investors and the cooperative,” Halvorson continued. “The co-op can set the interest we will pay, at rates lower than what we would pay a bank to borrow money for the project and higher than what an individual can earn from a bank with other lower risk investments – financial gain – profit.”
Wisconsin residents can become a Menomonie Market Food Co-op owner by filling out an online ownership application or by stopping by the South Farwell Street location in Eau Claire or the Menomonie store for more information.
“Whether you’ve supported the co-op through preferred stock, purchased an ownership interest for a friend, or shopped with us, it all adds up to something wonderful.”
Keep up with Menomonie Market Co-op’s expansion and additional news by visiting their website and Facebook (@MenomonieMarket).