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Co-op Prepares New, Temporary Location

January 28, 2014, 6:07 PM by Sammi Bjelland

Co-op Prepares New, Temporary Location

Just eight days ago, the Co-op Natural Foods store and the products inside were destroyed by fire.

While Sioux Falls police are still investigating the alleged arson, Co-op owners and vendors are preparing to move on.

Tuesday, the community store found a temporary home.

For many years, the old Movie Gallery store off 18th Street and Minnesota Avenue sat empty.  Tuesday, it was announced as the temporary location for the Co-op Natural Foods store.

Board members decided to act quickly once they realized the impact not having a location was having on vendors and community members.

"It was devastating actually. It was a little more devastating to me personally than I thought it would be over the whole course of the week," vendor David Napolitano said.

"I'm going to borrow a line from Cheers.  It's one of the only stores where I go in and everybody knows your name and ask you about your family. And they really genuinely care," vendor Sanaa Abourezk said. 

The group now begins the process of transforming the old video store into a place for food.

"We're going to come in here and try to remove the carpet. Put in some of the facilities that we need, sinks and things like that, to be able to do what we need to do on a regular basis," Co-op Board President Alex Halbach said. 

The Co-op has signed a six-month lease and hope to open the store with partial inventory within three to four weeks.

"It might be just a few minor things up. Our peanut butter machine; we might have some oatmeal in here. We know what it is people are beating our doors down for.  And we will try to have those products available. But the whole monty will not be available in three weeks," General Manager Molly Langley said. 

The board will be discussing what to do long term over the next several weeks, with hopes of continued support from the community.

"It may be this location. It may be another location in Sioux Falls. It may be our old store on Duluth. We are not sure what that looks like at this point in time," Halbach said.

The Co-op is looking for donations to help the relocation process.

A fundraiser dinner will be held Saturday night at Sanaa's 8th Street Gourmet from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m..

You can also donate at Sioux Falls Federal Credit Union, or on the Co-op Facebook page.

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