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Littleton Co-op opens in three weeks

Tours last week showed off new building

Grocery Manager Ed King, left, leads a tour of the new Littleton Co-op Friday morning. The store is scheduled to open May 13. Art McGrath. (click for larger version)
March 04, 2009
LITTLETON—Though the Littleton Co-Op is not scheduled to open for three weeks, members and residents got a sneak peek at the facility Friday.

The building is not done, and the sounds of construction and men working permeated the building. However, the shape of what will soon be a bustling supermarket was visible beneath the dust and noise.

Grocery manager Ed King led people around the store, explaining its features and what will set the 10,000 square foot apart from a regular grocery store, such as Shaw's on Meadow Street.

One notable feature, King said, was the café in the center of store—a food court. People will be able to buy items from the bakery or deli and sit down at one of the tables in the center.

Another thing that will set the store apart will be its high quality products as well as its many local products, King said. There will also be a large percentage of organic products, possibly as high as 20 or 25 percent, he said. The meat will be superior, much of it local he said. He added it will lack that red dye one sees in meat in supermarkets.

The store will buy as much as possible locally. When he worked at Shaw's, King said he operated under many restrictions about where he will be able to buy products. He won't operate under any such restrictions here, he said.

There are a surprisingly large number of options to buy local products, he said.

"We're not trying to put the farmer's markets out of business, but we're giving the farmers a place to bring their products to one place without having to stand for hours trying to sell them," King said.

The dairy and frozen products will also be local as much as possible, including ice cream from Bishop's in Littleton and from a dairy in Haverhill, King said. Hood's, which is made locally and bottled in Concord, will also be sold.

"We're really trying to keep it local," King said.

In a way parts of the store are returning to "the old days," as King put it, including returnable glass bottles for milk. There will be $2 deposits on half-gallon bottles, which will encourage people to be more ecologically friendly, he said.

"It's in keeping with our goal to leave as small a footprint as possible," King said.

There will also be a large selection of local beers. The commercial bread section will be small because the store will be emphasizing its bakery products.

Shelves should begin to be stocked this week.

There is room next to the store to add another 5,000 square feet of space, which could be used to expand the dry goods grocery section, which is rather small, King said.

Residents were pleased by what they saw on the tour.

Patricia Barry said she is glad to support a local company and not a large international conglomerate that will send her money overseas.

Ellie McCole said she prefers to shop locally and is glad there is another option besides Shaw's.

The store is scheduled to open May 13. It will be a soft opening in order to train staff and get the kinks out. A grand opening will be scheduled sometime after that.

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