A Riverina town that has been subjected to big chain store closures has come up with an even better plan to provide the community with a fruitful retail centre.
After three years in the making, Cootamundra is gearing up to open a new co-operative store in the town's main strip.
The idea behind the Coota District Co-Op store, a store that is owned and controlled by a group of members who each have a share in it, was developed in 2020 after the closure of big brand retailer Target.
The store will open in July at its Parker Street location following the closure of another big chain retailer, Rockmans.
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Coota District Co-Op chair Leigh Bowden said after the community learnt that the Target store was closing she thought the vacant space might be filled with a Big W or Best and Less, but when that wasn't the case she took matters into her own hands.
"I said; 'why don't we think about starting a cooperative'. I got onto the Business Council of Cooperatives and Mutuals and said; 'do you have someone who can speak to us'," Ms Bowden said.
Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council mayor Charlie Sheahan, who is in full support of the store's opening, said the initial concept was to take over the marketplace that Target was filling.
"Which was jocks and socks and clothes and manchester, that sort of stuff, but the beauty of a co-op is that it doesn't have to be limited to that," Mr Sheahan said.
"Having that nucleus owned and operated here in Cootamundra without it going anywhere provides the basis then for other small business to set up around it."
The store will mean residents will be less inclined to travel outside of Cootamundra to shop and therefore are supporting local businesses.
"They're investing in the community and the future of the community because this community won't grow without a retail commercial hub and it's on the press of us actually growing quite a lot with a lot of labour expansion here with the abattoirs coming online where they're looking at between 200 and 600 employees when that starts up," Mr Sheahan said.
"The basis' is here but we have to maintain that retail core and this is vital to holding and growing the retail centre of the community. As far as I'm concerned it's going to succeed."
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