In late November the Chronicle Herald ran a story about the creation of a new local co-operative grocery store. Two weeks ago while on a run up the Acadia trails, I had a chance encounter with the president and CEO of Scotian Gold Co-operative Ltd., David Cudmore. As a follow-up to that conversation, Karen Corey, the director of Marketing & Business Development at Scotian Gold, provided further information.
JN: David mentioned that the New Minas Coop was: too big, not attracting young people and not retail focused (it was basically a wholesaler for Coop Atlantic). Older generations understand the benefits of Coop’s but, without the interest new faces, they aren’t sustainable.
KC: Our business model – a consumer/producer partnership is very different than the Kent Coop model other than it will be a co-operative business with the opportunity for people to become owners. You will not have to be a member to shop or supply the food market. Our goal is to create a food market that delivers “an experience” for all generations, but with particular focus on the younger generation. We hope to achieve this by creating a family friendly environment with play area for children, interactive workshops and cooking classes for those interested in learning more about their food and where it comes from.
JN: David also mentioned that a Coop in Port Williams will work because it’ll be a smaller store (1/4th the size), there’s no other grocery in town while still being very accessible within the Windsor – Kentville corridor and it will have a strong focus on local, fresh and NS food. Producers will be encouraged to be active within the store and there will also be a butchery.
KC: Correct, our focus will be fresh and local whenever we can be – so fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh bread, fresh fish and meats and cheeses, all sourced local first. We realize we will not be able to source local 52 weeks of the year so there will be times of the year that produce will be sourced outside our local market and our plan is to carry items like bananas and oranges that cannot be sourced locally any time of the year. At the same time, we understand the convenience element of stocking grocery items as well which again will be sourced locally first. We will look to our owners/partners for direction and input on the items we stock.
– Compiled by, Jeremy Novak