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CO-OP Natural Foods Assessing Damage Following Arson, Burglary

January 20, 2014, 5:02 PM by Sammi Bjelland

CO-OP Natural Foods Assessing Damage Following Arson, Burglary
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

Owners of the CO-OP Natural Foods store in Sioux Falls are assessing the damage after what they're calling a weekend burglary and arson.

They say someone took cash from the business and then started it on fire.

"It's just upsetting. It's just very, very upsetting for anybody who sees the inside of it," General Manager Molly Langley said. 

The CO-OP Natural Foods store has been at its current location, off of Minnesota Avenue, since 2005.

Monday, CO-OP managers are meeting with inspectors to assess the damage.

"It wasn't a flaming kind of thing where people could see, but just melty-type, smoke damage. The food is gone," Langley said. 

Police noticed smoke coming out of the building early Sunday morning and contacted fire officials.

Langley says the CO-OP now has 2,500 owners and the support has been overwhelming.

Because it is a CO-OP, the vendors who supply the goods are now a concern.

"We have 40 to 60 local vendors who sell through us. So we're like a covered, year-round farmer's market. So this has a tremendous affect on all of those small vendors who sell through us," Langley said. 

Langley says a POD will serve as a conversation board for CO-OP owners and customers, to stay up to date on the most recent developments, as the store gets repaired. The POD will also hold materials that were salvaged to be used when the store can re-open.

Langley hopes the damage isn't too severe, so they can fix-up the community store and keep it at this location.

"The cooperative business model is an idea. It's not just a thing or a location. And so we'll go on because we have been here for 40 years, and you can't burn an idea," Langley said.

You can find updates from the CO-OP at its Facebook page and its website. 

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