Columbia project includes plan for 'community-owned' grocery store

Columbia project includes plan for 'community-owned' grocery store

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - With the goal of keeping quality foods available in one of the city poorest areas, Columbia officials are considering a plan to build a new grocery store off of West Beltline Boulevard.

The plan, which also includes a new urban garden and community park, would see the site developed on a wooded piece of land not far from Highway 277.

City officials say the grocery store would fill a need for many area neighborhoods after Piggly Wiggly on West Beltline closed months ago.

Staff in Columbia's office of business opportunities are also looking to start the store using a 'co-op' model.

Anyone would be able to shop at the store but members of the public could also take ownership in it by purchasing memberships for a one-time fee.
"It's a regular old grocery store,” executive director of city business opportunities Tina Herbert said. “But, of course, we want people to be members so they can take advantage of the membership as well as be exposed to having ownership in something."

City officials say it will take about 1,000 members for the store to open its doors. Staff members are still seeking investors while studies for the project continue.

The city is aiming to make the new store a reality within the next two years.

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