Saturday, February 5, 2011

Food Co-op

Today was the first cleaning day for a new food co-cop being established in St. Joseph. It's going into the former grocery store, Loso's, which was a family-run operation since 1890. Peter Loso was the first official resident of St. Joseph, originally called Clinton, when he arrived in 1854, just ahead of the Benedictines.

The final owner, Bob Loso, seems to have left the space in a state of overwhelm. Walking through it, there are still boxes of old baseball trophies, photos and old barrels, and the office space that looks down over the store is full of papers and business cards from vendors. Then there's the attic space, filled with ancient sewing machines, meat grinders, furniture, unidentifiable machines that look like they were used to torture someone. In the front there is an old teen hangout room, complete with stereo, large speakers, shag carpeting and a few discarded kitchen chairs. Bob will be back with a professional auction company to take care of that.

Bob is excited about the food co-op, and probably gave the new owners, a young couple who also own the adjoining coffee shop, a good deal. He wants to be subscriber number 1.

Today there wasn't much of a plan. A good number of people turned up and began taking out some shelving and pulling up a patch of carpet in the front of the store. I cleaned windows for about an hour, hauled a piece of carpet, then went home. The construction and dust there, on top of the construction at home, started to bring me down. It is exciting to think of a food co-op in the space, but it's also overwhelming. The space itself is enormous, and more or less abandoned. It might not take a lot of work to bring it up to where it can function as a hippie food co-op, but to really make it what is should be will take a lot of work.

I plan on going back next week, and will take my camera. It might get easier to wrap my head around as things start to take shape.

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