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Saturday, December 27th, 2014
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The making of a market


Sun, Oct 29th, 2000
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A grocery store returns to HoustonBy Jill ONeillMonday, October 30, 2000

When Reds IGA closed its doors on the small community of Houston, MN, (pop. 1,020) residents were forced to do their grocery shopping elsewhere. The storefront remained vacant for several months until an innovative group of community members rallied in an effort to re-establish a hometown grocery store. Their ability to pull together as a community is a remarkable story.

An Idea


Early in 1999 the Houston Arts Resource Council (HARC) hosted two round-table discussions to talk about the vacant grocery store. Another group was simultaneously meeting to talk about forming a producers cooperative as a means to market locally produced food. The two groups shared interests crossed paths, and the idea of forming a cooperative grocery store was born. At the second round-table an interim board of directors was established and the group formally became the Root River Market Cooperative, Inc.

After preparing an extensive business plan, the board began selling $100 shares to residents of surrounding communities. By October 1999, the cooperative had over 200 members who had bought into the store. "The concept of a cooperatively owned conventional grocery store is fairly unique," says former board member Jodi Dansingburg, "but it is a strategy that more and more small communities might have to consider." Increasing consolidation within the industry has made it less efficient for wholesalers to service several smaller stores compared to one large store.

The Vision


In addition to opening a store that supplies a full line of brand name foods from a conventional wholesaler, the cooperative hopes to offer locally produced meats, fruits, vegetables, cheeses and bread at competitive prices. "We want to be part of a system that helps keep small farmers in business," says board member Peter Denzer. "Wed like to provide a model for other parts of the country that share the same goal of helping regional producers survive."

"There is some skepticism in Houston itself as to what kind of market there is for this kind of food," says Denzer, "But the cooperative doesnt feel skeptical in the least. Many people we meet on the street are thrilled with the idea of getting good, Honest-to-God bread in Houston!"

The cooperatives goal is to begin offering a small section of l .....
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Board corks York

Sun, Oct 29th, 2000
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By Mike McGrath
Monday, October 30, 2000

At last Tuesdays meeting, the County Board of Commissioners brought to an end the debate on the issue with York Township over whether the township should receive additional co ..... 
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County employees concerned about asbestos work

Sun, Oct 29th, 2000
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By John TorgrimsonMonday, October 30, 2000

Vern Johnson of Kane & Johnson Architects of Rochester held a meeting with Fillmore County employees on Thursday morning to address some of the concerns employees had over the as ..... 
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Candidate forum:

Sun, Oct 29th, 2000
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State Senate District 31By Al MathisonMonday, October 30, 2000

This year the race for Minnesota State Senator District 31 is between David Blanchard (D) and Kenric Scheevel (R). Scheevel was first elected to the seat in 1 ..... 
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A Harry Potter party

Sun, Oct 29th, 2000
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Monday, October 23, 2000

Harry Potter has worked magic in Fillmore County, enticing both children and adults to become passionate readers. And I, too, have become a Harry Potter fan. In fact, as each new book was released I had to bargain with ..... 
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Sun, Oct 29th, 2000
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Changes in Music:
Good or Bad?
By Chris GuttormsonMonday, October 30, 2000

How does the music of today reflect the personalities of its listeners?

There have been many changes in music over the past two decades (and over sever ..... 
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Possessed

Sun, Oct 29th, 2000
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Monday, October 30, 2000

Author Moritz Thomsen writes of his house in an Ecuadorian jungle: "At first it is infuriating to discover what is going on beneath your nose; the books rotted; the phonograph records green with mold . . . boots turnin ..... 
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Just a Juicy Little Tidbit

Sun, Oct 29th, 2000
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Monday, October 16, 2000

"Whats this?" One of the two teenaged boys impatiently thrusts an open plastic margarine tub in my face. "We found it out in the woods just lying on the ground coming back from our tree stands." At the bottom of their ..... 
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Election year notes

Sun, Oct 29th, 2000
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Monday, October 30, 2000

Like everybody else Ive got a case of election year fatigue, but in spite of that Im finding a bit of perverse enjoyment in observing the whole spectacle. Say what you want about the shallow, unqualified and intellec ..... 
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