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FUNDRAISING GOAL CLOSE

Keweenaw Co-op receives $100,000 state grant

Where they are: The current co-op location at 1035 Ethel St., Hancock, is seen. (Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette)

HANCOCK — The Keweenaw Co-op received a $100,000 state grant for its expansion and relocation Tuesday as its capital campaign for the move nears the three-quarters mark.

The co-op received the $100,000 grant Tuesday from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development for its new facility at the former Keweenaw Chevrolet building along Quincy Street.

“We’re excited to receive it,” said General Manager Curt Webb. “It’s a great sign of support that our project is going to be doing good things as far as increasing food access and outlets for local and regional farmers and producers. We think it’s going to do it, and we’re glad they think it’s going to do it, too.”

Of the 18 grants MDARD announced Tuesday, the Keweenaw Co-Op was the only one in the Upper Peninsula.

The co-op also received a $200,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development grant for the relocation project in June.

Where they’re going: The new location for the business will be 610 Quincy St., Hancock. (Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette)

The new store will be about 14,000 square feet, double the size of the current site along Ethel Avenue. It will renovate the Keweenaw Chevrolet building and include a 4,000-square-foot addition.

A capital campaign is seeking $1 million to help finance equipment, inventory and other expenses. So far, the co-op has raised around $746,000, Webb said.

After a big push this spring, active soliciting of investments has been idled this summer, Webb said.

“The offering is still open, and we’re taking investments throughout the summer, but we’re not approaching people as much,” he said. “It’s just such a busy time both for us and the potential investors.”

After passing the $600,000 mark, the co-op has reached a threshold allowing it to bridge any gap with a short-term or temporary loan so it can move forward. Webb is still hoping to be able to break ground on the expansion in August. Construction and equipping the store will take about a year, Webb said.

“The community support so far has been outstanding,” he said. “We see these grants we’ve received as another sign of support that we’re doing the right thing with this project.”

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