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Editorial: Congrats to COG on site selection

The Willmar Community-Owned Grocery took a major step forward this week in announcing its location choice at 1600 East Highway 12.

This location decision has been a long time coming for this community group planning and organizing this local-foods grocery store. The organization evaluated nearly a dozen locations and this 1600 East Highway 12 seemed to rise to the top.

The location includes about 4,000 square feet of leased retail space on the south side of the Westside Liquors building. The location’s businesses also include Westside Liquors and Mr. B’s Chocolatier.

COG board president Russ Bennett said renovation is expected to start this summer, with an opening date targeted for early 2015.

The COG’s plan is to develop a full-service grocery with a focus on locally-grown food products from the upper Midwest. The goal to sell quality products ranging from fresh and organic to basic staples.

The store would also include a delicatessen, a dining area and an outside patio, according to organizers.

While the organizers considered multiple locations, including some downtown, the east Willmar location provided the best cost option along with adequate parking, suitable traffic and good visibility.

The organizers have been working for more than four years to develop a plan, build their membership base and identify a suitable location. The cooperative currently has more than 560 members, but has a goal of 1,000 by the time the store opens.

The organization is now conducting a search for general manager and plans to create up to 12 new positions when the

Congratulations to the COG board and members on their location decision on their way to creating a new Willmar business.