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Local Roots Co-Op Offers Healthy, Natural Foods And Fresh Alternative

Dan Valley helps a customer at the check out counter.  EP NEWS/ Gary Hazelton

Dan Valley helps a customer at the check out counter. EP NEWS/ Gary Hazelton

By: Kris Hazelton

You are cordially invited to stop in and shop at our new Local Roots Co-op store in Estes Park. At the store, you’ll find a wide variety of natural foods, beautiful organic produce and much, much more!

Dan Valley, is the Chairman of  Local Roots Co-op which is located at 429 West Elkhorn. The Co-op is member and community owned overseen by board members Dan Valley, Stacia Valley and Steve  LaMont.

This store opened on September 27, 2008 and the idea for a local co-op came from an analysis of a need for a complete selection of organic food, and the desire to help our community commit to one another and to build a resilient and sustainable local economy. Dan stated, “Much of the concept for the location for our new business came from walks by the newly created Performance Park. We thought a business to complement this beautiful addition to our town was the perfection location for Local Roots.”

Dan Valley and the other board members certainly have the experience to make this all work. Dan managed a local buyers’ club Co-op from 1993-1994 and helped his wife, Stacia manage Macdonald Papeterie from 1996-2004 where he implemented transition to a point of sale system. He also completed a Permaculture Design Course in 1998 and got his B.S. Civil Engineering: 2003. Dan is inspired by Gandhian economics and philosophy.

Stacia Valley, Secretary, is the fourth generation to work at her family owned business, Macdonald Book Shop. She opened and managed Macdonald Coffee and Paper for seven years and then Macdonald Papeterie for seven years, in Riverside Plaza. She sold the business over three years ago when her second child was born.

Stacia has studied organic gardening, and nutrition, and enjoys outside activities, and working with various fibers such as knitting, and felting. Her favorite book currently is “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle,” by Barbara Kingsolver. Having seen some of her favorite shops close, and realizing that she could have shopped there, or helped out more often, her goal is to buy from local, independently owned businesses as much as possible.

Steve LaMont, Treasurer, is a 20-year resident of Estes Park. He is the founder/original owner of Buckwheat’s Natural Foods and since 1991, owner of Turtle Island Traders, Inc., an Estes-Park-based business that provides screen printed or embroidered sportswear, as well as other imprinted promotional items, to local businesses. Since 1998, he has owned Nutz 4 Life, a local nut-roasting business, selling fresh-roasted cinnamon nuts at festivals throughout Colorado.

Wow, check out the healthy produce they have on hand.

Wow, check out the healthy produce they have on hand.

The Co-op’s mission is to serve our World by serving our neighbor. The Co-op is member and community owned; it is engaged with the community and responsive to it. The Co-op has a large member and community volunteer staff. This brings the people of the community into a greater proximity with each other.

When asked what sets apart the Local Roots Co-op from other grocery stores, Dan had this to say, “Our store is much more than a grocery store. Local Roots Co-op is structured like an ecosystem: with multiple functions being performed by each of its elements, and multiple elements performing each function. This structure begins with a necessity we all must have, food.”
At the Co-op, don’t let the name confuse you, everyone is welcome to come in and shop any time, as with any other type of retail store. You don’t need a membership or member card to get in and shop, like you would at a Sam’s Club, for example. In this situation, a person simply pays shelf price, as in any other place.

If you so desire, memberships to the Co-op are available and with a membership ($45 for a year), a person is essentially doing two things. One, they are offering their support of the co-op’s mission and, two, they will receive a discount on their purchase. This is called a “Non-Working Membership.”

Another option for membership is if you have time to work a short shift every week (currently 2-1/2 hours), this is considered a “Working Membership” and will get members a larger discount, and the discount also applies to more items in the store.

According to patrons of the store, the Local Roots Coop is much like a “mini Whole Foods” or a “mini Vitamin Cottage.” The store offers a broad selection of natural and/or organic products, from produce and dairy foods, to herbs and other supplements, to meats, grains and packaged foods. This is a great new place to shop and support in our community.
And exciting news, in the near future, there will be an in-house bakery; grab-and-go sandwiches, organic salad bar with soups; an abundance of foods in bulk bins; coffee/espresso and fresh-squeezed juices and smoothies.

Said Dan, “When we commit to using our community resources: businesses that are the life-bread of our neighbors, we contribute to the well-being of our community. What has been called the multiplier effect comes into play. Significantly more money stays in the community when it is spent at a locally owned independent business. Locally owned independent businesses are invested in their community, and spend a larger portion of their revenue on supporting local non-profits. Despite all of these facts, it is difficult for people to break the habit of merely looking for the seemingly best deal, and to commit to supporting the community that supports them. The Co-op will serve as a kind of support group wherein the ethic of supporting our neighbors first is cultivated.”

Dan also has plans to transform the dock facing Performance Park into a deck, and to paint a mural depicting Estes Park’s Cultural History on the back wall, he also plans to use profits to promote sustainability throughout the Estes Valley.

Stop in at our very own, local Co-op, you’ll be pleasantly surprised and once you shop there, you’ll definitely go back.
For more information, check out  www.localroots.info or call 586-5642.

© 2014 Estes Park News, Inc

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