- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—GLASGOW — Shoppers who stopped by Green Market Regional Co-op’s store on North Race Street on Saturday came to look for bargains and not just on food, but shelving, food bins and other items.

Everything in the store was discounted by 40 percent.

A notice written in green marker on a piece of paper taped to the door of the store alerted customers that the store was going out of business.

Mary Stockler, a volunteer for the co-op, said the store is closing due to a lack of business.

“From what we’ve gathered, there’s just not enough people who are interested in this who are willing to pay the little extra it is to get it here in Glasgow,” she said. “The people who have the money drive to Nashville or to Louisville and go to Whole Foods.”

The store offered all natural, organic and sustainable food items, including a local food section featuring milk, cheese and meats. It also offered gluten-free food items.

“Those things did sell well. We kept them in stock fairly well,” she said. “We felt like we were reaching an equilibrium and we were going to make it in January. And then with the ice storm, we were closed for a week and-a-half. That really threw off what we had already built, but if we had enough customers the rest of the time that wouldn’t have ended things. It was just one of the contributing factors.”

The co-op had operated in the same location for three years, opening there in November 2012.

The store is run by volunteers.

“Things did get better and better, but last fall it started getting worse. I don’t even know all of why,” Stockler said. “Everyone who has run this store has been a volunteer. The goal was to get the store self-sustaining and be able to pay a worker. It just didn’t happen.”

Kelly Jackson, of Glasgow, stopped by the store on Saturday to shop for the first time.

“I just started seeing a dietician and she recommended this store,” said Jackson, who was upset to learn the store was closing. “It kind of bothers me, because I’m trying to eat healthy and it’s going out of business.”

Saturday was the last day for the store to have regular business hours. Stockler is willing to meet customers on an appointment-only basis.

The discount won’t go below 40 percent, because by offering items at that rate the co-op is selling them below cost, she said.

“We’re hoping to have everything done by the end of the month,” Stockler said.

In addition to closing the store, the co-op is also dissolving, she said.

The buying club — Barren County Good Food Buying Club, which was in existence prior to the opening of the store, is still in operation.

“People can still do monthly orders and pick them up once a month,” Stockler said. “They’ve been meeting here. They are working on a new place.”

Jacqueline Berry, coordinator for the Barren County Good Food Buying Club, said she is working on establishing a new location for the club to meet and that she thinks she is onto some good leads. “We’re just a group of people who buy together so we can meet minimums and get wholesale prices,” she said, adding that the focus is on natural food, much of it being organic and gluten-free.

Berry was also a member of the Green Market Regional Co-op.

I volunteered there, until I moved out of the area. I live in Allen County. I was supportive of them, but it just didn’t work out,” she said.

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(c)2015 the Glasgow Daily Times (Glasgow, Ky.)

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