What's New with Expedition Easthampton?

March 2021:

The timber framing is being installed at the front entrance of the store. All the wood used was sourced responsibly from sustainably managed forests to help protect our local woodlands!

Winter 2021:

Check out this fun timelapse video which originally aired during our Annual Owners Meeting back in December! It offers a fun look at how the construction of our new Easthampton store has progressed over the past year... we're getting so close!

In this presentation from our 2020 Annual Meeting, Jonathan Wright of Wright Builders discusses the green building objectives for our new Easthampton store, which is now under construction. He breaks down our vision for a store that not only meets but far exceeds sustainability standards for the 21st century. Highlights include a revolutionary solar array covering the parking lot, combustion-free heating and cooling (with special attention to post-COVID air quality needs), and much more!

Also during our 2020 Annual Meeting, Tom Douglas of Thomas Douglas Architects hosted a virtual tour of the new Easthampton store, walking us through each and every aspect of the store's design. Watch here so you can know what to expect when it opens:

September 2020:

In mid-September, we finished pouring the concrete over the building's foundation! Take a look at the images by clicking the arrows above.

Construction of our Easthampton store continues to go well! You can see here the building now has siding, a roof and some windows. Recently, crews have been working inside and underground on electrical, refrigeration and plumbing.

Click through the galleries below for a snapshot of where we are, where we've been, and where we're going together: 

August 2020:

Special Easthampton Store Project Announcement: Solar Power Interconnection Agreements with Eversource Finalized!

We are thrilled to report that we finalized two solar interconnection agreements with Eversource this week! These interconnection agreements, one for the rooftop mounted system and one which will make a solar power generating canopy over the co-op’s parking lot, (including battery storage for peak power periods), will generate nearly a megawatt of power. This level of renewable energy production makes our dream of on-site solar power for our Easthampton Store possible! 

Grocery store facilities are extra high consumers of electric power because of the high levels of refrigeration needed for fresh food display and storage, in addition to the usual lighting and A/C. In the Northeast climate, this makes on-site generation of solar power to offset a grocery store’s full electric usage a heavy lift. Even a system covering the entire rooftop would only cover a fraction of the co-op’s electric use.

In our Northampton store our +34KW rooftop solar system supports about 5% of our annual electric use. We also purchase renewably generated solar and wind energy through several sources to cover the other 95% of our electric energy.  Our vision for the future included developing strategies for generating over 50% of our own renewable energy.  The plans we have made for the Easthampton store far exceed that goal by generating 100% of our annual electric needs with on-site solar! We were able to achieve this by not only using the rooftop for solar power generation, but also creating solar canopies that both shade the parking lot and generate a substantial amount of electricity. 

We were able to reach this 100% solar power level because we’ve been blessed with many committed, skilled and visionary partners that helped develop the solar plans, the financing structure, the construction plans, as well as meeting the requirements for permitting and helping us to secure the utility interconnection agreements. 

We are filled with gratitude for the support of many of our community leaders, including Congressman Richard Neal, Mayor Nicole LaChapelle, and Representative Dan Carey. Their support, along with the expert support of consultant Anthony Cignoli helped us clear the final hurdles of securing interconnection agreements for both projects with Eversource, the electric utility serving our Easthampton store.  

Mayor LaChapelle said, "The co-op is an excellent example and part of Easthampton's future-sustainable, locally rooted, and good for the community. As mayor, I was thrilled to help the project come to fruition."

 "When River Valley Co-op came to me for my assistance securing New Markets Tax Credits for their planned new site in Easthampton, I immediately got to work and in the end, we were able to secure $15 million to allow for the project to get off the ground," said Congressman Richard E. Neal. "With the project underway, a key factor – a contract with Eversource for their solar panels on the parking lot canopy and the roof – remained unsigned. I stepped in and within days, the agreement was complete allowing for the construction to continue without disruption. River Valley is so much more than just a market. It is a driver of our local economy, employing our neighbors and friends, providing fresh goods from our local farms, and giving back to the community it serves. I know this from my time representing Northampton when the first River Valley Co-op store opened there in 2008. I am excited to see this space come to life in the next year and join Mayor LaChapelle in warmly welcoming this community-owned cooperative grocery business and its store team to Easthampton."

 These two Eversource solar interconnection agreements allow us to move forward to finalize the funding for the solar power generation portion of our Easthampton store project. The timing of these agreements was critical for our ability to move forward with solar portion of the store project. We really appreciate that Eversource came through for us.

We were able to develop these ambitious solar power generation plans by engaging Co-op Power. Co-op Power is a regional network of consumer-owned community energy cooperatives serving communities in New England and New York.  They specialize in nonprofit, municipal and cooperative ownership of solar.  Co-op Power hired Solar Design Associates to design the solar systems, Resonant Energy, an innovative solar developer, to assist with financing, and PV Squared to install them. Solar Design Associates is an internationally acclaimed engineering firm famous for being the ones who installed solar on the White House. Resonant Energy is an innovative solar developer. PV Squared is a worker-owned cooperative that has been voted the Best Solar Company in the Valley for the last four years.
Co-op Power and Solar Design Associates worked with us and our general contractor Wright Builders, civil engineer/site planner Berkshire Design Group, and architectural firm Thomas Douglass Architects. We challenged Solar Design Associates to develop a design for a solar electricity generation system for the Easthampton store that would generate enough power to offset 100% of our projected annual electric usage. It was a huge stretch goal only possible due to the expertise of Steven Strong of the internationally acclaimed solar engineering firm Solar Design Associates, and the innovative financing structure that Co-op Power brought to the project with Resonant Energy. The design and engineering process began two years ago and was developed in conjunction with the store and site design. 
Lynn Benander from Co-op Power said, "It has been quite an honor to work with River Valley Co-op on this groundbreaking project. Their commitment to supporting Easthampton's and the Commonwealth's Carbon Pollution Reduction goals was inspiring. They designed a system that will offset all of the power they will use each year. Modeling visionary new solar design practices, River Valley Co-op’s solar project includes a program creating an opportunity for low income families that are members of River Valley Co-op and Eversource customers to go solar and reduce their energy bills by about 15%."

River Valley Co-op engaged Wright Builders as the general contractor for the Easthampton store project because they were a locally owned and operated contractor. They bring a great depth of expertise in green buildings, including two certified Living Buildings in the valley, the R.W. Kern Center at Hampshire College and the Hitchcock Center for the Environment in Amherst. The Easthampton store has been designed for state of the art energy efficiency with virtually no fossil fuel use with the exception of propane for the food production equipment. It also includes electric vehicle chargers installed by a third party. 

Jonathan Wright of Wright Builders said, “For us at Wright Builders Inc., the journey to this level of sustainability is decades long. It takes time and effort and great partners. That’s where Co-op Power and River Valley Co-op come in, to not only make the solar possible, but inspiring, and, dare I say, even hilarious at times."

We are deeply grateful for the incredible support we’ve had for our Easthampton store’s many green building features including our co-op owners that prioritized green building features for this project and supported it with over $5 million in individual loans to help build the store. Getting these solar interconnection agreements finalized is a key milestone in moving our green building achievements to a groundbreaking high for a grocery store in this region. 

Thank you for all you do to help make our vision for a greener future a reality! We are looking forward to opening by July 1st, 2021, possibly sooner!

July 2020:

The first steel post going up on the Easthampton store. 

Construction started on our Easthampton store following the finalization of our financing at the end of January. In addition to the $5 million in individual co-op owner loans made to support this community project, we secured economic development funding for this $18 million project through a program called New Markets Tax Credits. This program is designed to support projects that create jobs and support community needs in qualifying low-income census tracts. Many thanks to Congressman Richard Neal for his support of this program and our efforts to assemble the financing partners needed to complete the process. Our financing partners include ESB Bank, The Massachusetts Housing and Development Corporation, The National Community Investment Fund, Capital One Community Reinvestment Fund and Vermont Rural Ventures, with additional support from the Twin Pines Cooperative Foundation. Together with our individual community lenders, these financing partners came through for us and funded the project of expanding our cooperative with a second store in Easthampton.

An artist's rendering of our new Easthampton store.

Demolition of the former car dealership at the end of March.

Sadly, we canceled our groundbreaking ceremony due to COVID-19 concerns. With our wholehearted support, our general contractor also paused construction between the end of March and late April because of the pandemic. Materials continued to be delivered for the next stages of construction, and on April 27th they started back up with coordination plans and new safety protocols in place.

The long-vacant car dealership building has been demolished and recycled as much as possible. The footings and some of the foundations have been formed and poured. A few of us cut out some colored paper hearts and wrote down all the good wishes we could think of for the new food co-op in Easthampton and planted them as seeds of hope for a better future beneath the foundations.

Seeds of hope for a better future are laid beneath the foundations.

The roadwork on Lyman Street and the left turning lane at our future driveway entrance has begun and should be finished before the end of July. A big thanks to the City of Easthampton for undertaking these roadway improvements, with the support of a MassWorks grant, to support traffic flow and safety.

Solar Covered Parking Lot and Roof

We are continuing to work with Co-op Power to finalize the solar aspect of our project. We have worked with Solar Design Associates to design and complete the engineering for three systems: solar panels on our roof, a solar canopy over our parking lot and a battery system for storage of solar-generated electricity. The combination of these three components will give us the capacity to generate as much solar power annually as we expect to use. The batteries also offer benefits to help stabilize the overall electric grid. This is a separate third party project we are doing in collaboration with Co-op Power, which has separate financing and approval processes. We hope to finalize these plans and move forward with them in conjunction with the store construction project soon.

We expect to open the Easthampton store between April and July 2021, which allows for some flexibility in the event we have any COVID-19 related delays. Although we missed doing our groundbreaking ceremony this spring, we will plan a party when the time is right to celebrate the building of this wonderful new local food cooperative in Easthampton.

Captain Jack's Roadside Shack

The purchase of the site for the Easthampton store included the facility rented by Captain Jack's Roadside Shack. Obviously, they can't operate the takeout or outdoor dining business from a construction site. To help keep them in business during the construction, the co-op purchased a custom-built food concession trailer fully equipped to Captain Jack's specifications. River Valley Co-op is now leasing this food concession trailer, as well as food prep and storage access to the current Captain Jack's Roadside Shack facility for $1 per month to help them get through this year of construction. Captain Jack's Roadside Shack opened for takeout with their new, bright-red concession trailer on Memorial Day Weekend at the former Cernak Car dealership on Florence Road and Northampton Street in Easthampton. This temporary location is not far from the original location. We look forward to getting our new store open with Captain Jack's operating out of their original facility again in 2021.

A temporary new home for Captain Jack's Roadside Shack

Revising Store Plans for a Post-COVID Reality

are in the process of revising our Easthampton store plans to address likely post COVID-19 customer needs for safer shopping. Revisions include the elimination of a self-serve salad bar, hot bar, and coffee bar. We are replacing those with an exciting lineup of service displays and made-to-order stations. We’ve added a handwashing sink at the store entrance and of course, we are placing plexiglass barriers as needed for the safety of check out and service counters. We’ve increased the level of air filtration in the HVAC system, as we have also done in our Northampton store. Likewise, we are also eliminating scoop bulk bins and replacing them with gravity bins.

Right to Left: WBI Managers Ann Ledwell and Linda Gaudreau, Co-op General Manager Rochelle Prunty,
Assistant Project Manager Clare Dusell and Co-op Project Manager Monica Nuñez

A big thank you to our co-op expansion project manager Monica Nuñez! She is managing the project expenses, keeping a myriad of details well-organized, researching options and working with all our great contractors and consultants on plan development and problem-solving every step of the way. Also thanks to our project team, which includes our general contractor Wright Builders, Thomas Douglas Architects, Berkshire Design Group, Tighe & Bond Engineers, National Co-op Grocers Development Co-op, Co-op Power and our many subcontractors and other advisors. 
Now more than ever, we need to work together to develop a strong local food system that meets our community needs. This project will create 100 new jobs over the next couple of years and support even more local farmers and food producers, as well as allow us to serve more co-op owners and customers in the Easthampton community. 

Thank you for your support on this important project!

Rochelle Prunty
General Manager

May 2020:

After a several week hiatus, we are happy to report that construction has continued on our Easthampton location!

Check out what's new with Expedition Easthampton this month:

The forms for the foundation's footings are set.

Rebar is added to the foundation's footings.

Eco-friendly stormceptors arrive on-site! They are designed to protect nearby wetlands.

April 2020:

Our Easthampton Store has progressed well up to this point, but last week our general contractor, Wright Builders, determined they could not proceed to the next steps as planned due to COVID-19 safety concerns. We decided to suspend work until May to safeguard everyone involved with the project. On Friday, Easthampton city officials announced they would halt other construction projects over these concerns as well. Construction is slated to restart in May.


We closed on financing and purchased the property at 228 Northampton Street in Easthampton and construction will be underway soon! The new store, which was approved by the Easthampton Planning Board in March of 2019, is projected to open in the spring of 2021. 

The Easthampton property includes the former Oldsmobile Pontiac car dealership, adjacent meadow and wetlands, as well as Captain Jack’s Seafood Shack, which recently signed a lease with the co-op. We plan to utilize approximately four acres of the property for the 23,000 square foot store, 200 parking spaces, outdoor seating, and Captain Jack’s Seafood Shack. The adjacent six-acre meadow and wetlands will be preserved as open green space.  

We've been working with many local businesses on the site, building and construction plans, including Wright Builders, a local contractor specializing in green buildings, Thomas Douglas Architects, and the Berkshire Design Group. 

We are also collaborating with Co-op Power and working with Solar Design Associates on the plans for the extensive solar electricity generation system, which will serve a dual purpose of generating as much electricity as we expect the Easthampton store to use on an annual basis and shading most of the parking lot. The HVAC system for the new store will use an air-based heat pump technology that operates on electricity, resulting in the use of renewable green energy, instead of fracked natural gas to fuel the heating needs for the 23,000 square foot building. The Hilltown Land Trust is donating some of the local sustainably forested trees, which will be milled into timbers by Lashway Lumber to build the front entrance of the new store. 

The Center for EcoTechnology is providing recycling support, including the reuse and recycling of the materials from the existing car dealership building, which will be removed before building the new store. There is a relatively minor amount of asbestos abatement required before we can start.  We plan to start that work next week and will expect to begin the demolition of the building the last week in February.  Once the building has been removed, stay tuned for the announcement of the ground-breaking celebration on the site. 

A big thank you to everyone for your support throughout the process! 300 co-op owners stepped up with individual loans, a local bank, bankESB, along with National Community Investment Fund, a Community Development Financial Institution, provided the mortgage loan. Officials from the City of Easthampton, as well as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts stepped forward to support our project resulting in the City of Easthampton securing a MASSWorks grant. This grant will be used to fund and complete important roadway, intersection, turning lane, crosswalk, and sidewalk improvements related to our new store site.  We also had support from Congressman Neal to assemble federal economic development funding through four community development organizations including, Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation, National Community Investment Fund, Vermont Rural Ventures, and the Capital One Community Renewal Fund. These funds were all essential for our project to move forward. 

With a total project cost of over $18 million, we couldn't have done this on our own. But by working together with our community, we succeeded! 

MassWorks Rt 10 Public Infrastructure Grant Announcement

We are so very grateful to MASSWORKS and the City of Easthampton for their support of this nearly $400,000 grant to provide the important roadway, crosswalk, and sidewalk infrastructure improvements to support the planned operations of River Valley Co-op's second store in Easthampton!

We are also happy to be partnering with ESB Bank as our lead lender on this $18 million project. Locally controlled food businesses are extremely important for building the local economy and strengthening our local community. Food is an essential service, and it's important that this service is rooted in the community so that the economic engine serves that community instead of exporting profits out of it. The Easthampton River Valley Co-op will add to the already vibrant locally owned business culture in Easthampton by supporting more local food producers with more wholesale purchases. We will also work with the nonprofits and arts organizations to help nourish the community beyond the grocery aisles. It is great working with a local bank that understands the importance of locally- owned businesses and the potential of River Valley Co-op to benefit the community successfully.

(click to expand)

River Valley Co-op Announces Easthampton Store Financing Team Assembled


(Easthampton Northampton, MA) Today, the co-op is pleased to announce they are working with Easthampton Savings Bank and three community development organizations to secure the funding for the new food cooperative in Easthampton. The community development organizations include the Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation, Vermont Rural Ventures, and National Community Investment Fund. Over 300 co-op owners from the community have already made individual loans totaling $5,164,000 to support opening the food co-op in Easthampton. The co–op will combine its co-op owner loans with traditional bank financing and economic development funding for a total of $18 million to open the new food co-op.  River Valley Co-op Board President Steve Bruner said, “River Valley Co-op’s Easthampton store is being developed by the community, for the community!”

The economic development funding comes through a federal program called New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) to incentivize investment focused on creating jobs as well as providing essential community goods and services in qualifying census tracts. River Valley Co-op launched its Northampton store construction project in 2007 with support from this program in conjunction with a high level of community support. General Manager Rochelle Prunty expressed gratitude for the support of this economic development program (NMTC) for the Easthampton store project as well. “This program makes possible what would otherwise be impossible for a community owned business to accomplish on its own. We would have never been able to open our Northampton store without this funding in 2007, and we wouldn’t be launching the Easthampton store project in 2020 without this support either.”


“I have long been a champion of the New Markets Tax Credit program because I see how they are used to transform communities and the lives of people who live there,” said Congressman Richard E. Neal. “When NMTCs were on the chopping block during the Republican Tax Bill debate, I made sure that they were saved because they support real, positive impact on our communities and their economies. I am confident that the expansion of the River Valley Co-op here in Easthampton will be no different. Congratulations to Mayor LaChapelle and her team, as well as the entire River Valley Co-op delegation who are ensuring that this project will come to fruition with smart reinvestment and revitalization. I am happy to be a partner.”

This economic development financing requires the cooperative to secure the support of multiple mission-driven community development organizations to aggregate enough tax credits to draw an investor to the project at the needed funding level. The funds will supplement bank financing and other significant funding already raised through community organizing to support the community-focused local food and triple bottom line mission of River Valley Co-op’s Easthampton store project.


Prunty explained, “Our project was well received by many community development organizations, but the tax credit allocations were more competitive than in past years. In partnership with our consultants, internal team, Congressman Neal and Mayor LaChapelle, we successfully brought together the support to complete the NMTC economic development funding that the project qualifies for this year. We are so grateful for the breadth and depth of the local support, that is what really makes the difference in securing funding our project. We are very appreciative of the teamwork involved on many levels that is bringing this all together in our community.”


Easthampton Mayor LaChapelle said, “This announcement shows the tremendous collective efforts by the River Valley team and Congressman Neal’s leadership on the Ways and Means Committee. It is an honor to work with them in bringing good-paying jobs and new revenue to Easthampton.” 

Since opening eleven years ago in Northampton, the co-op has purchased $46 million of products from 420 local farmers and producers, contributed over $1 million to area nonprofit organizations, offered hundreds of free workshops, and has a minimum starting hourly wage of $15 with 165 employees, 90% of them fulltime. The co-op’s workforce is represented by the UFCW Local 1459. The co-op looks forward to serving the community even better by supporting more local farmers and producers along with adding 100 new jobs within five years of opening the store in Easthampton. For more information see: http://rivervalley.coop


Expedition Easthampton Update

With deep gratitude, we reported in July that over 300
co-op owners stepped forward and made $5,164,000 in personal investments to support River Valley Co-op's second store project in Easthampton, MA., exceeding the co-op’s goal of $5 million in funding from our local community members. Thank you once again for your enthusiastic generous support!
We've been busy since July updating our budget and construction plans and working to bring all the project costs into line within our budgetary constraints.  We are grateful to our local contractor (Wright Builder's), site civil engineer (Berkshire Design) and architect (Thomas Douglas Architects) for working through these issues and preparing to mobilize ASAP this Fall on construction.
We've also been working through bringing in all the final pieces of the economic development funding so that we can proceed with the closing process on our bank financing.We are working toward closing in time for starting construction this Fall which would make our Easthampton store opening about 12 months later in the Fall of 2020.
The economic development funding we are seeking is through a federal program. We are still experiencing delays with this related to the government shutdown last December which pushed back funding allocation announcements from January to the end of May. The delayed announcements were further complicated by very limited funding allocations in New England. This has required us to reach out nationally to supplement the funding available regionally to secure all the funding our project qualifies us for. We've also applied for some other grant funding.
The process with economic development funding requires some patience, but it is worth the wait because these are funds that will not need to be repaid.  Our goal is to secure up to $4 million in these funds. This is a great way for our cooperative to leverage additional outside funding support which could come close to matching 80% of our co-op owner loan investments in the Easthampton project. This enables us to do much more than we could on our own with traditional bank financing. Of course, our local bank is also a very important to making our project in Easthampton possible. We deeply appreciate all our funding partners coming together and helping us to grow a really good thing for our community, local food producers and our employees.
We've got our owner loan funding in hand, we have bank financing lined up ready to start the closing process, we are working though on these final pieces of funding so we can make our final decision and proceed to closing on our financing (which is expected to take about 60 days from start to finish). Upon closing on financing we will purchase the property. Then construction can begin!  
We will keep you updated as things move forward so we can plan for a fun ground-breaking celebration. Thanks again for your support!

Meet the Wright Builder Team

$5 Million!! We did it!


Customers, Community Members Make Personal Investments in River Valley Co-op’s Easthampton Store Project Exceeding $5 Million Goal


(Easthampton Northampton, MA) River Valley Co-op announced today that customers and community members stepped forward to make personal investments to support the retail grocery cooperatives second store project in Easthampton, MA. Over 300 co-op owners made $5,164,000 in loans, exceeding the co-op’s goal of $5 million.

River Valley Co-op, a community owned retail grocery in Northampton specializing in fresh locally produced foods, presented plans for the new store located at 228 Northampton Street  to the Easthampton Planning Board for approval earlier this year. The plans incorporated the existing Captain Jack’s Seafood Shack as part of the new development The proposed 22,000 sq. ft. store with 200 parking spaces shaded with a solar power-generating canopy received special permit approval on March 19th.  The co-op launched its $5 million capital campaign a few days later on March 23rdand succeeded in surpassing its goal on June 30th.

Jade Barker, Board Member and Chair of the Co-op Owner Loan Committee said, “$5 million is quite a vote of confidence! The enthusiasm for River Valley Co-op opening this new store has been palpable. We are both deeply grateful and inspired to get this much community support!”

Board Member and Co-op Owner Loan Committee Member Alex Risley Schroeder added, “In conversations with owners there was such enthusiasm and eagerness for a second store. This energy and endorsement is as important as good blueprints and the right building materials.”

Barker explained that throughout the co-op’s history, co-op owners have invested in the co-op: first to build and open the store in 2008, and then to support its ongoing evolution and growth.  River Valley Co-op is open to the public and its customers are eligible to join by investing to become co-op owners.Since the co-op opened in 2008, nearly 11,000 people have invested $150, (a one time investment, not an annual fee), to become owners of the co-op. The concept for consumer owned cooperatives is to fund a community owned business with a little money from a lot of people. Several hundred of River Valley Co-op’s owners have been both inspired and able to step forward at different times with extra owner loan investments when needed for its development.

Jade Barker said “Our community wants to support local farmers & businesses, wants more union jobs, wants community space that is sustainably stewarded, and wants more accessible local & organically grown food. And they want River Valley Co-op to open a second store in Easthampton to grow more of all these good things.”

Total development costs are projected to be about $17 million. Reaching the $5 million goal for investments from its owners puts the co-op in a position to move forward to finalize securing the additional economic development funding required to purchase the property, build and open the new store.  Construction is planned to start as soon as possible this fall.  Opening is anticipated for the fall of 2020.

River Valley Co-op staff member Wendy Messerli reflected on the project, “As a staff member working on this campaign, I have been so proud to work for a cooperative business that tangibly supports the circular economy with local farmers, food producers, union employees, consumers, renewable resources, and cooperative principles. Through many enthusiastic conversations with co-op owners, shoppers, lenders and non-lenders alike I’ve heard a symphony of voices that actively support and encourage our inclusive vision to transform an under-utilized space into a hub stewarded by the community that it nourishes."   

Dorian Gregory, Deputy Director of the Cooperative Fund of New England and River Valley Co-op Board Member said, “As a cooperative business, River Valley Co-op’s mission is about more than its bottom line. River Valleyhas been an incredible success and example of a local community customer-owned cooperative grocery business since it opened just 11 years ago.”

To date the co-op has purchased $46 million of products from 400 local farmers and producers, contributed nearly $1 million to area nonprofit organizations, offered hundreds of free workshops, and has a minimum starting hourly wage of $15 with 160 employees, 90% of them full time. The co-op’s workforce is represented by the UFCW Local 1459. The co-op looks forwards to serving the community even better by supporting more local farmers and producers along with adding 100 new jobs within five years of opening the store in Easthampton. For more information see: http://rivervalley.coop


As of June 30th, we hit our goal! We raised $5,164,000!!!

On behalf of everyone at the co-op, A HUGE heartfelt thank you!
June 7 Update: Our Co-op Owner Loan Total has reached $4.75 million. We are getting even closer to our goal.  Thank you for your support!

June 5th Update: Momentum on our Wild about Growing Local 

Co-op Owner Loan Campaign

THANK YOU to our owners who have loaned (or pledged to loan), and all of those who have cheered us on along the way.

We are very close to our $5 million goal and moving forward with our Easthampton store!

Over the past two months, we’ve had hundreds of enthusiastic, supportive and thoughtful conversations about the project to build a second co-op store in Easthampton. It has been encouraging to hear from so many of you! It’s clear that our community wants to support local farmers & businesses, wants more union jobs, wants a community space that is sustainably stewarded, and wants more accessible local & organically grown food. You can still help-- just 50 more co-op owner lenders are needed to reach our goal!

We have gone over $4.6 million! (This does include some pledges, which we expect most people to make good on soon.) This is more money than we’ve ever raised and faster than we’ve ever raised it. Importantly, we wanted to let you know there is still time to participate! Reaching our goal of $5 million in Owner Loans will leverage the other funding we need to build and open our Easthampton store, including $4 million in economic development funding that will not need to be repaid. Thank you so much for the awesome support for Expedition Easthampton!

We just need 50 more loans. Are you ready to hop on board?

If we don’t reach our goal very soon - it may push our construction start date back, our goal is late August or Early September. If that happens, we’ll lose important pre-winter conditions for construction, which could negatively impact construction costs and our opening timelines. At this point, we expect the project will still move forward, but we need more co-op owner support to keep our project on track. If we do not reach our goal, we will need to consider alternative options.

If you have questions about the project, owner loan terms or interest rates, please let us know so we can send you the information. Email invest@rivervalley.coop, call us at (413) 486-0097 or stop by the customer service desk at the store to let us know you are interested in making a loan.

If you’ve already asked for the info but didn’t receive it, please check your spam/junk mail folder, or let us know so we can make sure you receive it. Please make sure to review the subscription agreement and offering documents before making a loan.

There are three ways to complete your loan upon the decision to invest:

1.) Print (if you received an electronic version of the subscription agreement), sign, and return the Subscription Agreement with your check by USPS to:
River Valley Co-op
Attn: Finance
330 North King St.
Northampton, MA 01060

2) Drop off at the Co-op Customer Service Desk:
ask for the Manager-On-Duty to take your paperwork.

3) If none of the above work for you, please let us know by emailing invest@rivervalley.coop and we can set up an appointment with you!

Once you have submitted your loan:
You will receive an email confirming receipt of the check & paperwork.
In the following weeks, we will mail you a copy of the signed Subscription Agreement & Promissory Note.

We sincerely appreciate your time and consideration and we can’t wait to see you in the aisles in Easthampton!


Over $4.2 million raised! There is still time and we need your support now!

We’ve had so many people expressing interest in the last few days we will keep the investment open until May 31st so everyone who wants to participate has the opportunity.


Invest in our Wild About Growing Local! Co-op owner Loan campaign to help us open the Easthampton store

Can you help us open the Easthampton store?

Opening a store in Easthampton is the next step in the co-op’s journey. It will help us serve our customers better, offer more employment opportunities for our staff, and move us forward in our shared aspirations for a growing local foods movement.

 For more information about our Wild about Growing Local Campaign click here.


Board Perspective on Expansion

Why Expand?

Meet the Wright Builder Team

Easthampton Update!

Dear River Valley Co-op Owners,

Thank you for all your support in 2018 in both our Northampton store and with progress on our efforts for a potential expansion of the co-op in Easthampton. Expanding to two stores will strengthen our capacity to bring quality food choices from great local sources to all the families we serve. The enthusiasm and energy you have contributed to our efforts are as inspiring as when the community came together to open our Northampton store ten years ago. Support from you, as well as from the communities in Northampton and Easthampton (and throughout the region of our proposed expansion) to add a new store in Easthampton has been overwhelmingly positive.

We’ve been busy in 2018 with exploring the feasibility of opening a second River Valley Co-op store in Easthampton on the former car dealership property located at 228 Northampton Street. We secured the option to purchase the nearly 10 acre parcel which includes the former car dealership, adjacent meadow and wetlands, as well as property currently rented month to month by Captain Jack’s Seafood Shack,(our designs include incorporating Captain Jack’s in our plan) and we will be finalizing our decision for purchase by July 2019. The store is envisioned and planned to be about the same size as the co-op’s Northampton store with twice as much parking onsite.  It will feature the same fresh local food selections we are well known for in Northampton including an extensive prepared foods department with a larger seating area inside and out. 

As you know, the co-op specializes in supporting local farmers and food producers. We have a ten year track record of building many wonderful partnerships with local farmers and businesses to help support their growth and success. The Northampton location has purchased over $40 million in products from hundreds of local food producers over the last ten years.Many Easthampton residents have long been River Valley Co-op owners, shoppers, and suppliers and we look forward to the possibility of serving you better and supporting even more local farmers and producers with this store.

In keeping with our mission and our commitment to doing business differently than some others, we’re taking great care with every aspect of planning our new store. We are committed to this expansion to support our community's hopes for a brighter future and stronger local food movement. Together through our cooperative food business we can build the kind of community that we (co-op owners, shoppers, local farmers/food producers, and co-op employees) aspire to.

We wanted to share some facts with you that we encourage you to share with family and friends about these early stages of the effort:

Our facility size limitations in our Northampton store are limiting our full potential to serve our community and fulfill our mission.  The second store in Easthampton will relieve some of the crowding in our Northampton store while providing better access for more shoppers and co-op owners. There will be more growth opportunities for local farmers and vendors we partner with now (with the opportunity to add even more), as well as the chance to add more great retail union jobs and management opportunities for our employees. The new parking lot will be larger and we hope to include solar panels for shade and electric car chargers. There will be solar panels on our roof that combined with parking lot solar panels will power our store's electric needs.

We have returned to a trusted friend, Wright Builders, the same locally owned and operated general contractor and construction company that we’ve worked with on several important remodel and repair projects over the last 8 years in our Northampton store. Wright Builders founder, Jonathan Wright, who lives here and knows us, is also one of our co-op’s founding owners and knows our business and physical plant and mechanical systems needs very well. He is renowned for his award-winning ground breaking work to build environmentally sustainable projects right here in our valley, like the Hitchcock Center for the Environment,  a beautiful and inspirational, 9,000-square-foot “living” environmental education center and the R.W. Kern Center at Hampshire College, a building that has one of the most rigorous design standards in green building.

Many of the staff of our construction partners are local crafts people as well as co-op owners and shoppers. Many are Easthampton residents. They care about their craft and about their community as well their co-op. Jonathan Wright has been in contact personally with organized labor representatives, asking for them to submit suggested Union contractors for us to consider. They have received two referrals and reached out to both, one they already have a long working relationship with from other projects. Others have reached out directly and they have been welcomed to participate in the bidding process. It is very important to us that local contractors are considered and that we seek out opportunities for inclusivity of women and people of color in our project.

Every step of planning and preparing this effort has been weighed by what we believe is important to our co-op owners and the families we serve. Environmental sustainability is very important, as is supporting our local community, supporting local farmers and businesses, supporting social justice, supporting labor, supporting fair trade and cooperative businesses.  This path has competing priorities for us daily as we navigate our way through the highly competitive grocery market providing a grocery offering that meets our communities needs for selection, service, and price, working to support fair wages and advancement opportunities for employees, fair prices to local business partners, and support for our communities’ needs.

We believe local community based and cooperative enterprises are the key to building a better future. We believe the food business has a pivotal role in building community self determination and vitality. As we realistically assess our sustainability as a small community owned independent within the aggressive and super-competitive grocery industry, we see expanding our store operations as the key to remaining relevant and achieving our goals for serving our community and supporting a system of local food production.

We have serious competitors in the region, many are part of large corporations who do not share our values or mission of building community. As we think about how, and if we can make this project happen, we have to be realistic about the competition. Now, and even more so in the future, we are up against the market domination impacts of Amazon –and ever increasing corporate consolidation in the food business. By working locally in partnership with other businesses and in cooperative partnerships regionally and nationally we are striving to build something more sustainable that supports the health of our community and food system. We’ve grown together to build something very special through our store in Northampton and look forward to the possibility of strengthening our position and capacity by expanding to another store in Easthampton. Stay tuned in the new year for more information on how you can help with funding through a co-op owner loan or with co-op ownership outreach to make the new store a reality. Amazon is changing the grocery business, but we are working for positive change in our communities for a better future. 

So, we appreciate your spreading the word about our efforts. Continuing to work together the way we have and do, everyday, is going to be the difference in making this project a reality.


May the Holidays and the New Year bring all great things to you and yours! Thank you.

River Valley Co-op Open House to Discuss Easthampton Grocery Store Plans

River Valley Co-op invites you an open house to review the plans for our proposed grocery store in Easthampton. Saturday, December 15th10AM-Noon located in the West Side Event Room in the Eastworks Building across from Riff’s Joint.  We’ve been exploring the feasibility of opening a second River Valley Co-op store in Easthampton on the former car dealership property located at 228 Northampton Street. We have secured the option to purchase the nearly 10 acre parcel which includes the former car dealership, adjacent meadow and wetlands, as well as property currently leased by Captain Jack’s Seafood Shack. We are preparing to start the permit process in January and invite your feedback and questions.  This is an opportunity to preview the plans before they are finalized and submitted to the Easthampton Planning Board for the permitting approval process.

Saturday December 15thmeet River Valley Co-op Board Members as well as members of co-op management and our local project team including our architect Tom Douglas of Thomas Douglas Architects and Jeffrey Squire of the Berkshire Design Group, (our civil engineering and landscape design consultants). 

The store is planned to be about the same size as the co-op’s Northampton store. It will feature the same fresh local food selections we are well known for in Northampton including an extensive prepared foods department for eating in or take out.  Our prepared foods department includes a salad bar, hot bar, coffee and juice bar, deli with made to order hot and cold sandwiches, pizza and a selection of baked goods which will all be made fresh from scratch in our onsite kitchen. We plan seating for dining inside and out and we’ve incorporated Captain Jack’s into the outdoor dining space. 

River Valley Co-op specializes in supporting local farmers and food producers. Over the past 10 years the Northampton location has purchased over $40 million in products from hundreds of local food producers.  Many Easthampton residents have long been River Valley Co-op owners, shoppers, and suppliers and we look forward to the possibility of serving you better and supporting more even local farmers and producers with this store.

Our local Easthampton store project partners:

Wright Builders: General Contractor and Project Management

This 45 year old Northampton construction company’s commitment to sustainability and community runs deep wide, and long.  

  • Wright Builders is the only firm in the world to complete two Living Building Challenge buildings. The Challenge seeks an integrated regenerative approach to the built environment, including elimination of toxins from the workplace and from the sourcing of materials.
  • Ithas achieved over 40 LEED certifications.
  • The company has built and or developed affordable ownership and rental housing for over 30 years. Currently, Green river Commons in Greenfield provides for net zero carbon neutral home ownership at 80% of median income.
  • As the first builder-developer to sign on to market rate housing development at the old Northampton State Hospital site, Wright Builders Inc. has designed, developed and delivered 52 units of LEED certified housing, the only such neighborhood in New England.
  • Wright Builders has talented and accomplished women in key positions throughout the company, including project management, marketing, and operations management.
  • The company has successful partnerships with many area subcontractors including both union and non-union contractors.
  • Wright Builders founder Jonathan Wright is also founding River Valley Co-op owner #8 of the now over 10,000 co-op owners. He has volunteered many hours to assist the co-op in its site search for a second location over the last four years. Jonathan lectures and presents around the region, and beyond, on sustainability and climate change response. He is the author of two published volumes of his poetry and photography, from 2014 and 2018. His third book, Living Building Makers, celebrates through stories the lives and work of those who make Living Buildings, and how that work transforms the individual and the work. It is due out in spring 2019. He is a regular contributor to Gazette columns and reporting, including features on Post-Maria Puerto Rico, universal health care initiatives, food, education and housing.
  • Wright Builders has completed multiple projects for River Valley Co-op over the last 8 years including a walk-in cooler addition, several renovations to accommodate growth in the meat and prepared foods departments, as well as the major remodeling of the whole store over 2015-16 with many energy efficiency improvements and improved capacity for operations. Wright Builders is very familiar with the co-op operational and physical plant needs and well aligned with the co-op’s values.

Berkshire Design Group: The Berkshire Design Group, Inc. is a nationally recognized award-winning firm of landscape architects, civil engineers and land surveyors headquartered in Northampton, Massachusetts.The Berkshire Design Group, Inc. has been leading sustainable design strategies for the New England Region since 1984. They work with clients holistically to craft an integrated project that minimizes negative impacts on the environment and improves a project’s immediate surroundings. They have been reducing greenhouse emissions, improving water quality, and developing cutting edge design solutions since the firm began.

Not only has the firm developed many of the prototypes and standards used by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection for Stormwater Design, but they have lead the site design and construction of the:

  • First Certified Living Building Challenge in the United States
  • First Net Zero Community in New England
  • First PassiveHaus Childcare Center in New England

Across the country there are several voluntary accreditation programs which a client or project may pursue. Of these, USGBC’s LEED Rating System is the most common; others include: The Sustainable Sites Initiative, The Star Communities Rating System for Cities, Envision Sustainable Infrastructure Rating System, and the Net Zero Building Challenge. The Berkshire Design Group has completed numerous projects within each category and serves as a regional expert for many of these programs.

Berkshire Design supported River Valley Co-op’s first store project built in 2007-2008 with civil engineering and landscape design and has worked with the co-op on feasibility studies for several potential sites over the last four years. 

Thomas Douglas Architects provides a full-service model, which tightly integrates architecture and interior design. They provide a comprehensive range of services, including programming, master planning, site planning, conceptual design, and all the way through construction documents and administration.

Thomas Douglas has been practicing architecture since 1980, working on a variety of residential and commercial projects. He has design experience with theaters, restaurants, multi family housing, and commercial developments. He has worked extensively in the Northampton and Amherst area participating in the renovation of many local landmark buildings.

Tom has a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from the University of Florida, a Masters of Architecture from North Carolina State University, and he attended the Architectural Association in London, England as an exchange student. He also attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts.

Thomas Douglas supported the co-op in its remodel store designs and rebranding project in 2015-16 and are very familiar with our branding standards and all our physical plant needs for store operations and mechanical systems.

More background:

Why Easthampton? River Valley Co-op is exploring Easthampton for a second store because:

  • Easthampton is well locatedfor a second store for the co-op.It is already within the co-op’s circle of customers and vendors and a store there will expand our circle further. The Northampton store is doing more than twice as much business as we had originally planned for and this Easthampton location is close enough to take a little pressure (but not too much) off our current store, making both stores financially sustainable.
  • Easthampton is a community that supports local businesses. There is a thriving network of like-minded local businesses in Easthampton that support and care about community building and working to shape the future to be in alignment with those values.
  • Easthampton has a site available that appears to be able to meet our facility and operating needs. It is a challenge to find adequately sized real estate for grocery store operations in locations that would sustain an independent grocery business. River Valley Co-op has secured the exclusive option to purchase the former Fedor car dealership property on Northampton Road in Easthampton.

The Co-op’s goals for expanding in this location include:

  • Expanding local foods production with increased purchases from local farmers and food businesses to serve two stores.
  • Improved access and service for our Easthampton area co-op shoppers.
  • Expand co-op ownership to more people.
  • Expanding local foods production with increased purchases from local farmers and food businesses to serve two stores.
  • Many new jobs including advancement opportunities for our employees.
  • Making the Northampton store less crowded while growing the cooperative overall for more employee and vendor opportunities.
  • Utilizing energy efficiency and green technologies in the store design.
  • Making the overall co-op operations more financially sustainable for the long term.
  • Creating a welcoming community/events space.
  • Working to incorporate Captain Jack’s as a potential part of the new development and/or supporting other local foodservice entrepreneurs.

We are very happy to be working with the City of Easthampton and our co-op ownership on this exciting project to extend our cooperative and fresh local foods focused services to Easthampton. Thank you for your ideas, questions, and concerns about this project.

Contact Rochelle Prunty, General Manager for more information: (413) 341-5686 email: rochelle@rivervalley.coop


An Update on the Easthampton Store Project


August 30, 2018

In January we announced that we are exploring opening a second store and that we had secured an option to purchase the former Fedor Car Dealership property located at 228 Northampton Street in Easthampton. We’ve been working on our due diligence and planning over the spring and summer and have made a lot of good progress. We’ve received feedback on preliminary site plans and are currently working on revisions for a formal review and the permitting process.

Some of the steps we’ve completed include:

  • Market Study
  • Draft Financial Modeling
  • Traffic Study
  • Topographical Survey and Wetlands Delineation
  • Soil Testing
  • Draft Site Plans
  • Exploration of Building Design/Materials Options
  • Preliminary Construction Cost Estimates
  • Started Store Design Process
  • Hired a Project Manager
  • Raised $2 million in phase 1 of our Co-op Owner Loan Campaign

We still have many steps to go before we can make a final decision, but so far so good. We will be planning for some presentations on draft plans for community feedback this fall. We hope to complete all our planning and financing for a decision to proceed with the purchase and sale by early 2019. We project construction will take about a year and our goal is to open by July of 2020.

River Valley Co-op is exploring Easthampton for a second store because:

  • Easthampton is well located for a second store for the co-op. It is already within the co-op’s circle of customers and vendors and it will expand our circle further. The Northampton store is doing more than twice as much business as we had originally planned for and this Easthampton location is close enough to take a little pressure (but not too much) off our current store.
  • Easthampton is a community that supports local businesses. There is a thriving network of like-minded local businesses in Easthampton that support and care about community building and working to shape the future to be in alignment with those values.
  • Easthampton has a site available that appears to be able to meet our facility and operating needs. It is a challenge to find adequately sized real estate for grocery store operations in locations that would sustain an independent grocery business. River Valley Co-op has secured the exclusive option to purchase the former Fedor car dealership property on Northampton Road in Easthampton. We’re working through all our due diligence to determine if this is a feasible location for our second store before finalizing the decision to move forward with the purchase and sale for this project.

The Co-op’s goals for expanding in this location include:

  • Improved access and service for Easthampton area co-op shoppers.
  • Expand the co-op customer base.
  • Expand co-op ownership to more people.
  • Expanding local foods production with increased purchases from local farmers and food businesses.
  • 100 new jobs with many advancement opportunities for our employees.
  • Making the Northampton store less crowded while growing the cooperative overall for more employee and vendor opportunities.
  • Utilizing energy efficiency and green technologies in the store design.
  • Creating a welcoming community space and community events.
  • Working to incorporate Captain Jack’s as potential part of the new development.

How can you get involved?

  • Sign up for our email newsletter to follow our progress.
  • Participate in store planning feedback sessions that will be upcoming this fall.
  • Send questions, comments, and ideas to us via email at askursula@rivervalley.coop.
  • Become a River Valley Co-op owner, or if you’re already an owner, encourage others to join.

River Valley Co-op Explores Potential Second Store Site in Easthampton

January 22, 2018

Andrea Stanley, River Valley Co-op Board President (617) 519-6950
Rochelle Prunty, River Valley Co-op General Manager (413) 341-5686
Natasha Latour, Marketing Manager (413) 341-5627
Mayor Nicole Lachapelle (413) 529-1470 

(Easthampton, MA) River Valley Co-op has secured an option agreement for the potential purchase of the Easthampton property at 228 Northampton Street, (formerly the Fedor Automobile Dealership), as a second store location. River Valley Co-op is a cooperatively owned grocery store with one location in Northampton. Since 2014 the cooperative business has been discussing a second store location with co-op owners, customers, and employees in order to accommodate its growth as well as furthering the mission of building a strong local food system.

Andrea Stanley, Board President, reported, "We’ve been looking for a suitable location for a second store for several years to serve our community better. Our goal is to expand our community owned grocery business to further our local economic impact and build the resiliency of our local food system through year-round purchases to even more local farmers. We believe that Easthampton is an ideal match for River Valley Co-op. In fact, we have many co-op owners and vendors from Easthampton already, so we feel a strong connection to the community and look forward to expanding our working relationships even further with this project.”

The option agreement gives the co-op a year to conduct its due diligence, planning, and fundraising before exercising its exclusive right to purchase the property. River Valley Co-op’s leadership team met Friday with Easthampton Mayor Nicolle LaChapelle to discuss the dynamics of the plan. Mayor LaChappelle commented, "River Valley Co-op is a natural fit for Easthampton residents as consumers and job-seekers.  High-quality food and jobs is a combination that is hard to beat! I had the opportunity to sit down with the River Valley team last week. They conveyed deep understanding of Easthampton and shared their plans with thoughtfulness and enthusiasm. As the co-op is ready to grow, Easthampton is ready to support that growth to ensure success for everyone."

Owner of the property, longtime Easthampton businessperson Eddie Fedor said: “Our family is enthusiastic about the potential of River Valley Co-op expanding in Easthampton. This is a great location and will be very convenient for a lot of people. River Valley Co-op’s support of local farmers and other local vendors would make them a great addition to our community!” 

“Growing our co-op community with an Easthampton location gives River Valley Co-op’s local producers an expanded market and supports opportunities for new vendors. We are looking to build a store of the same size but with a larger parking lot than the Northampton store. This location meets many of our site criteria very well. We know there are some traffic concerns and we look forward to working with the community to determine how to best alleviate them. Now that we’ve secured the site, engaging community members and our staff to develop our plans is our next priority.” Rochelle Prunty, General Manager.

The co-op expects the store will employ 100 people in its Easthampton store. Northampton store employees are over 95% full time with benefits and are represented by the UFCW Local 1459.


About River Valley Co-op

River Valley Co-op, located at 330 North King Street in Northampton, is a community-owned grocery store open to the public daily 8AM-10PM.  Owned by over 9,500 area families, the co-op opened the store nearly 10 years ago with a mission to support local farmers and build a stronger local food system.

For more information please visit www.rivervalley.coop



Preliminary Drawings


Frequently Asked Questions

How would Captain Jack’s be impacted by a decision to open a second store at this location?
The co-op deeply supports local businesses and believes there could be very good synergies between Captain Jack’s and the co-op. Upon securing the option agreement on the property the co-op reached out to Captain Jack’s to express a desire and openness to working with them. We look forward to exploring the possibilities for working together over the coming year.

Why didn’t the co-op include Captain Jack’s in its announcement?
The announcement was about the option agreement and process for exploring the potential of a second store. It was not an announcement of a purchase with a plan for a second store. This was our first announcement about the proposal. There will be a time in the future to talk about other aspects of this project. We did not think it right to discuss conversations we've had or hope to have with neighbors.
The option provides security for the co-op to begin the process of exploring feasibility and planning options before deciding whether to exercise the option. The next steps include digging into details for site design and permitting. This includes beginning conversations with Captain Jack’s and others.

Why doesn’t the site plan show Captain Jack’s?
It is not a plan, it is a study sketch overlay we included to show the projected store size and parking scaled to the lot as a starting place for future plan development to give people an idea of the proportions of building, parking, loading docks for deliveries, etc. As the planning process proceeds over the coming 12-18 months (including discussions with Captain Jack’s) there will be many new working sketches that ultimately, we hope to develop into building plans.

Why did the co-op make this announcement so long before completing its plans and making a final decision?
Announcing the start of a process of exploring the feasibility of a second store and starting the planning process in such a transparent way is not the typical way business is done, but it is how the co-op does

We look forward to a positive and engaging iterative planning experience that results in building a co-op store in Easthampton that will be something the broader community has had a part in developing and that will support the community in building the future it wants for Easthampton.

How is an option agreement different from a purchase and sale agreement?
The option agreement provides the option to complete a purchase and sale agreement as outlined in the agreement for a specified period. This allows security for a prospective buyer to conduct due diligence, planning, and fundraising as needed before making the final purchase decision. Our agreement provides a year for this process with the potential for an added extension if needed.

What is the timeline?
If the co-op decides to go forward with the purchase and sale, we project the best case timeline is that we will break ground by Spring of 2019 and open for business by the Spring of 2020.

What size will the store be?
The preliminary plans call for a store of about the same size as our Northampton store: 11,000 square feet of retail space on the first floor, plus additional space on the ground floor for prep and staff areas. The plans also include a "mezzanine" style second floor for offices, staff spaces, community meeting space.

Will the Easthampton location have a big enough parking lot?

We are planning for approximately 150 customer parking spaces (compared to 92 at our Northampton location). We are also planning for additional onsite staff parking.

How will the new store affect traffic?
We are aware of this concern. We will be conducting a traffic study and working with the city to determine how to best address traffic issues. A plan for alleviating traffic concerns will be a key part of the permitting process.

Why Easthampton?
One of the goals of the second store planning is to alleviate some of the pressure on our Northampton location by finding a second location that would serve a significant number of our current customers more conveniently. Easthampton has hundreds of River Valley Co-op owners and is the ideal distance from our current store. A second location within 5-8 miles serves both existing customers and potential new customers. As the Co-op expands, we have a continued and growing ability to impact positive community changes. We acknowledge that there are unmet needs in the surrounding communities where we also have some current customers and we have an interest in continuing to look for property that’s the right fit for the co-op as we grow.

When will we have an opportunity to provide input?

We are planning for a series of open house events for sharing information, gathering ideas, and listening to your concerns and questions. Stay tuned for details.

How will we fund a new store?
Like our first store, our second store will be primarily funded with many individual interest-bearing loans from our co-op owners as well as bank funding.

What are the next steps?
We will be working with the city to determine what all the permitting requirements will be and that will include a traffic study. Concurrently we are having a market study completed that will help inform our financial modeling. We will also be gathering feedback and ideas, networking, and starting the site and store design process. We project six to nine months of design work to complete.

Whom are we working with on this project?
Wright Builders, Thomas Douglas Architects, Berkshire Design, NCG Development Co-op, and of course the City of Easthampton are our primary partners on this project so far.

What will happen to Captain Jacks?
They will remain for the upcoming season and we will be discussing potential scenarios with them as we proceed with our store planning process.

More Questions? Ask Ursula (our co-op bear) by emailing your questions to askursula@rivervalley.coop.

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“The new store will be 4 minutes from my home and I plan to be there daily. This is fabulous and I am thrilled! I feel like getting a shovel so I can speed up the building process.”Rev. Dr. Andrea Ayvazian

"We live in Easthampton and we are delighted to know that there will be a River Valley Co-op in town.We are regular co-op shoppers, and we will certainly make good use of the new store. We are very happy to see our local cooperative grow and serve a broader community." Dan Lemaire

"That is thrilling news. Just yesterday, I was wishing there was a source for more local, natural foods nearer to me in Easthampton. This will be a boon to our community, as more grocery options will mean more positive impact in all of Easthampton, and more for our local farmers." Audrey Hyvonen 

"River Valley Co-op in Easthampton!?!?!?!Hearing about a new location for my favorite grocery here in Easthampton is one of the most exciting things I've heard in years!With so many local businesses sprouting up in Easthampton, support for local businesses like the co-op and it's local vendors is growing stronger than ever! Another location could make finding heathy local and organic food in our community more convenient than ever!" Sam Dibble New City Brewery