OSHKOSH, Wis. (WFRV) – In 2011, UW Oshkosh student Bridgette Weber learned Oshkosh did not have a food co-op and decided to get the ball rolling on one. On Thursday, it became reality as the Oshkosh Food Co-op opened its doors to the community. “Welcome, it’s here,” said Jay Stockland, owner, and emcee of the afternoon ceremony.
The Oshkosh Co-op is a community-owned grocery store. “Today, this is a big moment, we are celebrating the transition from start-up, to store you guys,” said Brenda Haines, President, Board of Directors. Haines addressing the crowd of over 50 in front of the store location. There are over 1650 member-owners, who are a part of the National Co-op Grocers, in alliance with 148 other food co-ops nationwide. The Oshkosh location is the first-ever and added 30 new jobs to the local economy.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture designated the food Co-op’s neighborhood as a ‘food desert,’ meaning there was no option for a fresh food grocery store in that immediate area. Local business owners see the benefits of the food co-op. “The co-op allows us to produce fresh, healthy, and local ingredients for our customers and the community at an affordable price,” said Jennifer Davis, local restaurant owner.
Andrew Vincent, a resident of Neenah, says he might take a weekly trip to the Co-op. “I like buying local, but I can’t always get to a Farmer’s Market, so having local foods here that are actually at a good price and better food, I think is a great idea,” said Vincent. Barb Herzog, lives in Oshkosh and is thrilled the store is open. “This is wonderful and makes this a better quality place for all of us to live, learn, work and play,” said Herzog.
The Co-op has fresh produce, meat, dairy, and 20% of the products are locally sourced. The hours of operation are Monday through Saturday 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. and Sundays 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. An official ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for Tuesday, August 3, at 10:00 a.m.
For more information on the Oshkosh Food Co-op click here.