After three years of having to travel outside of their town to access a larger scale of retail shopping, the doors to Cootamundra's newest multi-retailer store officially opened to residents on Thursday.
The idea for the Coota Co-op came after the town lost its local Target and the large building it inhabited was left empty.
The idea behind the Coota District Co-op - a store that is owned and controlled by a group of members who each have a share in it - was developed in 2020.
Those with a hand in the plans for the grassroots development decided it would be a good option for the old Target building on Parker Street.
With multiple businesses able to use the space to sell their products - from clothes to technology - the store is the one-stop shop for all items.
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To celebrate the special occasion, residents gathered outside of the store on Thursday morning where a ribbon was cut by 87-year-old local Margaret Large who couldn't wait to get a first glance at the new store.
Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals (BCCM) CEO Melina Morrison said the success of the Coota Co-op came after community unity and hard work in raising the funds for the project.
"We are thrilled that the community has been able to see this through," Ms Morrison said.
"It is a testament to their will and dedication in that they have been able to raise the funds needed."
Ms Morrison said the store gives back essential retail to the town after that it lost when Target closed its doors.
Earlier this year, it was also announced the town's Rockmans was also closing.
"The Coota Co-op gives the town great economic opportunities in that the money made there gets reinvested back into the community through employing local residents and selling products from local businesses," Ms Morrison said.
"It's a meaningful development."
Ms Morrison said it shows other communities what small towns are capable of achieving and she hopes it inspires more to consider co-op stores.
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