It has been an exciting journey to watch the River Valley Market grow and change since it's doors opened in 2008. Ih has become my go-to local supermarket. They have fresh, local produce, responsibly sourced dairy, eggs, meat, fish and poultry. There is a large bulk section, with convenient containers available to purchase for liquid bulk items. There is a well-culled wine and beer section, frozen foods, snacks, cleaning and pet supplies and even skin care, supplements and make up. As a member/owner, I feel thankful for this wonderful cooperative market and local organization. The River Valley Market is on my list of 100 reasons why I love living in Northampton and the Pioneer Valley! I'm happy to share the following article from MassLive.com - The River Valley Market is opening a second location in Easthampton!!
River Valley Co-op chooses Easthampton car dealer site for 2nd store
EASTHAMPTON -- River Valley Co-Op has plans to build a second grocery store at the former Fedor Pontiac Oldsmobile site at 228 Northampton St. in Northampton. ( Republican File)(Bob Stern)
By Jim Kinney
EASTHAMPTON -- River Valley Co-op has identified the former Fedor Pontiac Oldsmobile property on Route 10 as the best spot for its second location.
The grocery cooperative announced Monday that it has an option agreement to purchase the property at 228 Northampton St. from the Fedor family. The price was not disclosed.
The dealership is vacant, having closed in 2010 when General Motors downsized its dealer network and ended the Pontiac brand during the automaker's post-recession bankruptcy. Oldsmobile went out of production in 2004.
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River Valley Co-Op opened its 17,000-square-foot store at 330 North King St. in Northampton in 2008. But with more than 9,500 member-owners and many more regular customers, that facility is getting too busy and congested, said Andrea Stanley, River Valley Co-op board president.
"The growth of our store has been faster than people expected," Stanley said. "We didn't imagine the store would be as busy as it is. There is no way to expand at that location. Where do you go next?"
General Manager Rochelle Prunty said the co-op already has hundreds of members in Easthampton.
"We were looking for a spot that would be close enough to our current store to kind of help support our current community. But far enough away to get a little closer to some of our co-op owners and shoppers who are further away," she said.
The co-op looked at a number of possible locations.
"We have people who come from all over," Prunty said. "Maybe ultimately we'll have a store closer to everybody."
Easthampton already has the independently owned Big E's Supermarket downtown and there is a Big Y in Southampton. Puza's Pure Food Market is also in Southampton.
Neither Stanley, Prunty nor a news release from the co-op said how much the Fedor property will sell for. But Stanely said the co-op hopes to raise $2.5 million in member loans for the project.
Those new loans would be added to an equal number of expiring member loans that are coming due and that the co-op hopes members renew for a grand total goal of about $5 million. The interest rate the co-op would pay on those loans is not set yet, Stanley said.
Prunty said the co-op has not determined all the project costs yet. Startup and construction costs for 330 North King St. totaled $10 million in 2008. The co-op spent another $1.5 million on a renovation in 2014 and 2015.
Stanley said she expects fact finding to planning to last all of this year, with groundbreaking in 2019. She hopes the new store could open that year.
River Valley plans to build new at the site, creating a store that would be about the same size as the current Northampton store. That is 11,000 square feet of sales space with additional prep areas and an office mezzanine. It would have 150 customer parking spaces compared with 92 at the Northampton location.
The co-op expects the Easthampton store will employ 100 people. The 150 or so Northampton store employees are over 95 percent full-time with benefits and are represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1459.
Becoming a River Valley Co-op member-owner costs a $150 minimum equity investment. That investment is not an annual fee. Member-owners get discounts, coupons and can share in a patronage rebate if the co-op makes a profit.
River Valley Co-op plans to work with Wright Builders, Thomas Douglas Architects, Berkshire Design, NCG Development Co-op and the city.