FREDERICK, Md. (WDVM) — Braving the early morning chill, a line of customers stood outside the doors of the new Common Market Co-op on West 7th Street.
“I’m an early bird so I just wanted to come out and see what they got,” said first-in-line shopper, Patricia. Like many, Patricia lives in the neighborhood that surrounds the College Park Plaza and has been waiting to walk over for opening day.
“I don’t drive so it’s hard for me to get around so I either have to take transit up to Giant Eagle and this is going to be closer to just pick something up,” she said.
Inside, the new location boasts 33,00 square feet of shopping space. Shelves here are stocked with hundreds of local and organic produce, meats, seafood, and non-food items.
“It’s definitely very large and I’ve very impressed by the diversity of stock that they have,” explained shopper Oliver Nuellerkleine, “This has really been the only places that have been on point with having a lot of organic and vegan options, especially a combination of the two.”
“Because profit is not our singular motive, we can take the time to have hundreds of local items,” explained vice president for the board of the Common Market Co-op, Annie Marshall.
Marshall says the co-op, owned by more than 7,000 members, had been looking to expand for nearly a decade. The board considered renting a space, or buying land and constructing it from scratch. The ideal opportunity came after Safeway closed its doors at the location in 2018 after 30 years of service.
“Anytime something like that leaves a neighborhood, the neighbor struggles to figure out where the next [grocery store] location is going to be,” explained Mayor Michael O’Connor, “There are some other grocery stores in the vicinity but it’s not the same as having a grocery store in your neighborhood.”
Shoppers and more than 100 new employees hired to staff the store are required to wear masks. Occupancy will remain at 75-percent, but board members say being open fills a local need.
“This new location, it makes it easier for folks in the city limits to shop here,” explained board member, Alecks Moss. Moss added that the store is located next to a public transit stop.
For more information on the Common Market Co-op, visit https://www.commonmarket.coop/.
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