Fare Share Food Co-op Submitted

NORWAY — Fare Share Food Cooperative, a staple of Norway since 1976, is re-opening to its member-owners and the whole community after two weeks of renovations. With a soft opening on Memorial Day, the freshly renovated store will feature new floors, new shelving, increased access to bulk products, and enhanced layout of the space to better incorporate bulk workstations and ease of access to products in general.

During the first week of renovations, well over 25 people were helping to dismantle the store to prepare it for demolition and rebuilding. “This is exactly what I love about being part of our co-op community—when help is needed, enough people show up to make it all happen. It’s kind of magical and warms my heart every time!,” said Zizi Vlaun, General Manager.

Renovations will continue over the coming months and years as the Co-op replaces the back door with automatic doors, finishes the basement for community food storage, renovates the kitchen, repaints the exterior, and installs a new roof.

The co-op’s Board President Carol Marsh shares: “These renovations have been sorely needed, and thanks to the Thrive Maine grant we received, we’ll be able to address them over the next two years. We feel fortunate to be working with excellent contractors like Creative Building Solutions, Maine Passive House, Hawkeye’s Refrigeration, Robert’s Roofing, and others, and especially to have the help of our fantastic community of volunteers, dismantling the store, supporting the contractors, and putting it back together again. We’re excited about opening the doors again to a brand new space, and about the further changes yet to come.”

A celebration of the new space will take place on Saturday, June 2, at Fare Share’s Spring Member-Owner meeting, being held at Alan Day Community Garden from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. The meeting will also feature a presentation on the critical place of cooperatives in our food system by Jon Steinman, author of Grocery Story and cooperative market advocate. A tour of the store, including an introduction to the bulk workstations, discount groceries, and more, will take place after the meeting.

Fare Share is cooperatively owned by more than 850 community members who enjoy fresh, local produce and products, friendly staff that is committed to vetting products and providing exceptional service, bulk and preorder buying options including discounts on bulk cases, seasonal and weekly discounts, equity in the Co-op, a voice and vote in important food-related decisions, and a growing community of people lending hand and heart to building a more resilient local food system. Fare share thrives because of its strong member-ownership, but, you don’t have to be a member to shop at the co-op!

To learn more about member ownership and the growth happening at the Co-op, visit the website at www.faresharecoop.org, sign up for their newsletters, call, or ask a staff member in-store. Fare Share Food Cooperative is open every day, including Sunday, from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. at 443 Main Street in Norway, 207-743-9044.

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