RVM Coop plans to break ground in March!

(03/12/07) At last night’s member-owner meeting at the Haydenville Congregational Church, the River Valley Market Board announced they have closed on financing to build the River Valley Market cooperative, and will begin store construction this month!

Using a complex financing structure called New Market Tax Credits which involves a broad array of equity lenders (including River Valley Market member-owners) and a mortgage loan from the Bank of Western Massachusetts, they closed the financing on Friday, March 9th 2007.

“Congratulations to all, and thank you for your persistence and faith in this project. We look forward to shopping with you in our new, bright, green, state-of-the-art, locally produced, healthy and organic, community-owned store!” – The River Valley Market Board

What is River Valley Market?

  • A food cooperative in Northampton!
  • RVM is a consumer-cooperative formed to open and operate a retail grocery store specializing in fresh, local and organically grown foods.
  • The co-op will be locating its store at 330 North King Street in Northampton.
  • RVM is 100% Member-Owned.
  • Everyone is welcome to join as a co-op Member-Owner!
  • Visit them on-line at www.rivervalleymarket.coop.

How will the Co-op differ from a regular supermarket?

  • The co-op is more than a grocery store, it is an entity committed to enriching our community, our local agriculture and businesses, our earthly environment and our shopper’s personal health. Cooperatives are unique because the same people own, control, and use them, through a shared system of member-ownership. This structure creates a local ownership system for sharing the control and wealth of the organization, based on the values and needs of the membership.
  • Our co-op will specialize in locally produced, natural, and organic foods. It will also be built as an LEED certified Green building, with solar power, water reclamation, energy efficiency, daylighting, and more. Looking to the future, we aspire to be a vital part of a larger thriving agricultural center in the valley.

Cooperative Principles include:

  • Voluntary and open membership
  • Democratic member control
  • Member economic participation
  • Autonomy and independence
  • Education, training, and information
  • Cooperation among cooperatives
  • Concern for community

8 Comments on “RVM Coop plans to break ground in March!

  1. Co-op Construction Progress Update

    River Valley Market is starting to take shape as the walls and roof are going up! We expect the roof to be completed next week.

    Our building is being constructed to be a LEED (Leadership in Energy Efficient Design) certified green building. The LEED-certification process provides a framework of standards and criteria which document environmentally-friendly construction in order to qualify for green building certification. The standards include use of recycled material, local material, non-toxic material, energy efficiency, pollutant reduction, and renewable energy.

    The roof and walls have extra insulation for an R-value of 38 on the roof and 22 for the walls, and once we get the building enclosed, it will be extremely well insulated. The Guardian Fiberglass insulation we’re using in the building has been certified to meet low-emitting indoor air quality standards. We’ve been working with the contractors to ensure that all of the materials used inside the store, including the paints, adhesives and sealants, all meet the LEED-certification standards for air quality too.

    Look for more co-op construction progress updates soon!

  2. Update from RVM (August 16th, 2007)
    Construction Update- The Building is Beginning!

    Wednesday morning August 15th the first delivery of steel beams arrived and the builders started framing our building! The structural steel framework will be completed within a few weeks and enclosed by the end of September. Feel free to give our builders a cheer and a wave if you drive by the site while they are working!

    Our building is a pre-engineered steel structure from Northern Building Systems in Dalton, MA. A steel building is the most economical and efficient option for our facility. While the building itself is very simple, it is also very energy efficient (roof R-38, walls R-22). The roof will support our 30+ KW solar electricity generation system and the building will also accommodate our daylighting wall panels and skylights. A post-and-beam frame canopy will be added to the entrance area of the storefront later in the construction process which will warm up the aesthetic appearance of our steel building. http://www.rivervalleymarket.coop

  3. Update from RVM (July 16th, 2007)
    Co-op Construction Progress Update

    We finished the blasting stage of our project near the end of June (with a total of about 10 blasts over a 3-week period) and now we’re preparing to pour the foundation. This is an exciting key step in our progress!

  4. Update from RVM (June 12th, 2007)
    Co-op Construction Progress Update June 12th 2007

    Many member-owners wielding their own shovels visited the site to celebrate the groundbreaking on May 17th . The groundbreaking participants got a close up view of just how rocky our ground is.

    Following the groundbreaking celebrations, a new piece of heavy equipment, aka “the hammer” (a crane with a heavy duty hammer on the end of its arm) began work pounding and breaking away more rock to make way for the building’s foundation. But “the hammer” alone didn’t have enough power to complete the process and the next step was dynamite!

    The blasting began June 7th and is expected to be completed by the end of the week of June 11th. Blasting is limited to the hours of 10 AM to 2 PM. There was one blast on the 7th and another on the 8th which required traffic to be stopped for approximately 4-6 minutes on Route 5 while the charges were set off. Starting on Monday the 11th , blast areas will be moving closer to the front of the site and at some point during the week, it will require that traffic to be stopped on I-91 as well as Route 5. We anticipate one to two blasts per day with traffic delays of 4-6 minutes during each blast.

    Our construction site supervisor Bryan Lang, of H.P. Cummings Construction Company and Rochelle Prunty, our co-op manager, pose with an antique dynamite detonator box while awaiting the completion of the June 9th blast preparations.

    The blasting process includes drilling holes into the granite bedrock at designated locations. Next the bright orange sticks of dynamite are set down into the holes. Each stick of dynamite is wired for detonation with wires color-coded for their specific detonation time. Once the dynamite has been placed and wired, large mats made of recycled tires are placed over the entire charge area. These mats help keep rock from flying into the air (making for a much safer blast). FYI- We were impressed that the blasting contractor reported that he has used these same recycled tire blasting mats for eight years so far.
    Thanks for bearing with us as we complete this stage of the process. To limit neighborhood noise and traffic disruptions from the blasting, we used “the hammer” to mechanically break up as much rock as possible before bringing in the blasters. It was slow going, but it did considerably reduce the amount of blasting required, and we look forward to completing this stage of the process as quickly as possible.

    All of the rock will be crushed and recycled for fill, to be used on the site so there will be no waste created as a result of this work. Once the blasting is complete and the foundations and trenches are cleaned up, we’ll be ready to pour the footings for our building.

    Please stay tuned for further co-op construction progress updates as we go.

  5. Recent update from RVM (May 23rd, 2007)

    River Valley Market’s Ground Breaking Celebration
    About 150 enthusiastic community members and co-op member-owners arrived with shovels in hand to join in the River Valley Market groundbreaking on Thursday, May17th. Within the beautiful natural amphitheater of the granite cliff, topped by a crown of trees overlooking the rolling hills of the Holyoke range, we took the next step toward building our store.
    River Valley Market Board President Ed Maltby kicked off the celebration with a welcome and introduction of former Board President Betsy Powell, who described the growth of the co-op from a small group of committed individuals to a store that will open in early 2008. Northampton Mayor Clare Higgins praised the leadership of the community in investing in its own future and persevering in the face of significant challenges. CISA Executive Director Annie Cheatham lauded the achievement of the founding members in “growing this natural food cooperative” and providing hope in a world of war and conflict. Marilyn Scholl of Cooperative Development Services gave an inspirational speech on the role of consumer cooperatives in building a sustainable, fair society and reminded us that, with proper stewardship, we should “expect it to be awesome.”
    Look for a newsletter this summer. Contact Sharon Rudnitzky at sharonitzky@comcast.net or Rochelle Prunty at rochelle@sover.net or call 802-722-4212 for information about advertising in the newsletter.
    Western Massachusetts Enterprise Fund Executive Director Chris Sikes introduced the members of the financing team who took the idea of a consumer-owned store that promotes economic, environmental and social justice in its community and translated the idea into a “bankable” project. He introduced Steve Weems of Coastal Enterprises CEI Capital Management, Ryan Leap of the Bank of Western Massachusetts, Klara Grape of the Community Fund of New England, and Jim Megson from the Local Enterprise Assistance Fund. Both Steve and Ryan praised the 2,000 co-op member-owners, saying that our dedication to our vision was heroic.
    General Manager Rochelle Prunty celebrated the work of the Outreach Committee and of all the member-owners in bringing the project to life, and the invaluable support of our New Market Tax Credits consultant and co-op member Austin Miller.
    Suzanne Beck of the Northampton Chamber of Commerce welcomed the co-op to the business community of Northampton, noting the entrepreneurial spirit of our member-owners. Lynn Benander of Co-op Power, who was key in securing our green buildings grant, praised the cooperative members as the “mighty choir singing even when it was hard to know if things were moving forward.”
    Member-owners Marvin Ward and Nancy Little reminded us all that we are mere specks in the evolution of our building site as they gave a history and geological description of the site.
    David Gowler, our very first president, led the crowd in the ceremonial groundbreaking at the corner of the site of our 17,000 foot store with a rousing cheer.
    Please continue to spread the word about our co-op; it’s not too late to become a founding member-owner! Please forward this e-mail to any interested friends.
    The crowd feasted on a delicious buffet of local foods provided by Green Fields Market, freshly brewed fair trade organically grown coffee from Equal Exchange, and Barts Homemade ice cream.
    We are winning awards already!
    In April, the River Valley Market project received the grand prize at a national community development conference hosted by the Valued Advisor Fund of Chicago. River Valley Market won the Best Practice – Community Impact – Right Stuff Award for its beneficial community impact and the commitment of its community members. The award was based on the compelling story of the potential community impacts of this project including employment; creating markets for local farmers and food producers; convenient consumer access to fresh, local, and organic foods; model use of energy efficiency, solar power, and green building techniques; and ongoing education related to food, health, sustainable agriculture, cooperatives, and green buildings.
    The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative is supporting the cooperative’s green building project with a $406,522 grant. The green building features include a 30-KW solar electricity generation system, energy efficient equipment which captures heat from the refrigeration for hot water, daylighting to reduce electricity use, extra insulation to reduce energy consumption, capture of rainwater for flushing toilets and watering plants, landscaping with native tree and plant species, and use of regional and recycled materials for construction.
    We’ll keep you posted on new developments during our construction phase. And check out the photos of the groundbreaking posted on the River Valley Market website at: http://www.rivervalleymarket.coop/photos/groundbreaking

  6. Thursday – 05/17

    11:15am – GROUNDBREAKING – The River Valley Market invites the community to bring a shovel and break ground at the old quarry site at 330 North King Street in Northampton, MA, the future home the coop. There will be fresh local food served and special guests. 800.392.3862 [Families] (Free)

  7. I got great news from RVM! Read on …

    “It’s happening! The highly anticipated start of construction was signaled by the appearance of heavy equipment which began operating on the site last week. Congratulations to one and all! Your vision, persistent support, and commitment have transformed the dream of a Northampton food co-op into River Valley Market’s construction project.

    “This preliminary site preparation phase is expected to take 6-8 weeks. We are planning our ground breaking ceremony for May, before we start on the foundation of our building. We’ll keep you posted via email on the details of the schedule as we move forward.

    “We chose the North King Street granite quarry location because it enables the co-op to locate in Northampton. As excited as we are about building the store, the Board did pause before construction started to give thanks to the current site for yielding its wildness to birth the cooperative. The site had trees along the roadside which screened the largely open space in front of the cliff from the road. Unfortunately the trees (including black locust which is considered to be an invasive species) had to be removed because the construction process would have damaged their roots and they wouldn’t have survived. But this tree-less site condition is very temporary. Rest assured we’ll have lots of new trees on the site before our project is completed.

    “Our plan includes planting 24 new shade trees next fall after the bulk of the construction is completed. This includes 9 red oaks, 3 red maples, and 3 green ash trees across the front in the area where the bulk of the trees on the site were located. In addition, there will be some red pines, river birch, and sumac along with other native shrubs, grasses, and plantings. With our planting plan, we’ll have a nice stand of shade trees along the roadway again in the future, as well as a thriving food co-op, making the site a refreshing environment for local food shopping.

    “We’ll keep you updated about the schedule as we move forward to build our locally grown food cooperative!”

    – The River Valley Market Board

    Click here to see photo.

  8. I love that there will be such a store on the hilltown side of the river!

    My family became founding members of RVM in 2003 and have witness all the red tape and hoop jumping the coop has struggled through since that time. We are very excited to learn they will be breaking ground this month. Big thanks to all the folks who have been driving this vision forward.

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