East Aurora welcomes Co-Op market

Co-Op Market in East Aurora

EAST AURORA, N.Y. (WIVB)- Busy East Aurora mom Suzanne Lewke is the kind of parent who reads labels.

‘We pay attention to all of the ingredients that are in our food, so we like to be able to have a choice, have a say in what’s being provided for us to eat,” she told News 4.

In big box stores, she can’t always find the local, organic food she’s looking for, at least not as easily.

When the East Aurora Cooperative Market opened its doors Wednesday, she was one of the first shoppers through the door.

“We’re vegetarians too, and we have the opportunity to get a lot of vegetarian options at the Co-Op,” she said.

Modeled after the Co-Op in North Buffalo, the one in East Aurora operates the same way; shoppers can become member-owners for a one-time payment of $200.

“As a member-owner, you have a say in what kinds of items are available at the Co-Op. You can also vote for board members, so you are a part of the Co-Op, you’ve invested in it. And there’s member specials, member-owner specials that we have weekly,” said Co-Op employee MaryKate Dvorak

Eventually, there will also be dividends, if business keeps going like it has been.

General Manager Sheila Conboy said produce especially is flying off the shelves; a lot of it comes from a farm just a few miles away.

The new location was $2 million project that required a lot of volunteers, but Conboy said the store still needs to raise about $200,000.

“To be able to provide operating capital is so important for a small business. We are seeing things flying off the shelves here and we want to be able to restock that and just have a really solid beginning so that we can sustain this great, great store,” Coboy told News 4.

The 100-year-old building where the Co-Op set up shop used to be mixed-use office space, but almost a century ago when it was first built, it was a grocery store.

Conboy feels like the space is coming back to its roots.

In addition to providing steady income to area growers and farmers, the Co-Op has created 30 local jobs.

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