When you pull into Abbott Farms Outlet in Spartanburg, you can find fresh produce like peaches, pecans and tomatoes.
"Oh yeah, it's real good," said a clerk at the store.
Customers seem to like the idea of fresh food daily. Several years ago, Erin Ouzts and others came up with the idea of starting a community Hub City Co-op grocery market. Ouzts is chair of the board.
"We can show our community what can be done with these old buildings," said Ouzts.
The building is located off North Liberty Street. It used to be a Plymouth and Volkswagen dealership and a tire shop.
On Tuesday, Ouzts said the use of the building is shifting gears a bit to a co-op grocery store. Owners of the co-op said they have a six-month lease that will allow them to raise more money to start renovations.
The co-op has 500 owners, but Ouzts said more are needed to start construction.
"We're a real outlet for all of our local producers which then makes the co-op a real economic engine for our community," said Ouzts.
Ouzts said that means driving more jobs into the area and promoting natural, fresh foods without corporate roadblocks.
"Instead of being owned by one or two people or by a corporation, anybody in the community can buy an ownership," said Ouzts.
Marlene Gary, a shopper, said if a co-op store is in Spartanburg, she wouldn't have to travel to find a Whole Foods or Earth Fare store.
"It's going to be a lot more convenient for everyone here," said Gary.
Some shoppers said they just like the idea of more options.
"I think it's healthy and we always like to have extra choices," said Jerri Warren as she put grocery bags in her trunk.
And because Ouzts said the idea is to keep money from traveling out of the community, local farmers may be able to cash in too.
If you are interested in becoming an owner, it will cost $150 for a stake in the company. Ouzts said the market will also bring about 30 new jobs to the area.
Copyright 2012 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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