The Ownership and Outreach Committee Meeting was held Friday, Nov. 22, at the Whitewater Innovation Center to mainly focus on setting up the budget for next year and let people know about the soon-to-be grocery store.
The Whitewater Grocery Co. business was incorporated two and a half years ago by volunteers. It is a small, local business with its main goal being to get a grocery store into town and to make it affordable as well. Another goal of the business is to have other ways for food to be accessible.
“We want to make sure that we have a store that really caters to a number of different eating styles, whether it’s veganism or whether somebody really just likes beans or whatever. We want to make sure that’s available too,” said Chairperson Brienne Brown for the Ownership and Outreach Committee.
Not only does this business want to bring in a grocery store for the community, but it plans to make the community better and not just with its goals. The people working for the business look for ways in which they can help a diverse community and meet the needs of everyone in it.
“Personally, I’ve been empowered through being able to work with people, the grocery cooperatives, because they’re giving me resources, they’re giving me time, they’re working on similar things that I’m really passionate about. So that has given me an opportunity to be able to explore and research my interests while benefiting my community,” said Jonathan Roberts, a senior majoring in Integrated Science and Business and also studying environmental studies while interning at the Whitewater Grocery Co.
According to Roberts, the Whitewater Grocery Co. is looking to fight against strong food issues, such as the obesity crisis, Americans eating processed food, agricultural practices which are detrimental to the environment, and people who waste a third of their food production. Because of these challenges, no one has access to food like they should be able to in a community. Because of the value the business will bring, it is imperative to them that they bring in more owners in order to have the store.
“I would say overwhelmingly, both in the College of Business and at the university level there’s been good response. And actually, we are also doing this kind of cabling in the UC now… But, you know, it’s been very positive, generally. Actually, even the Chancellor Dr. Dwight Watson, as soon as he heard about it, he became a member to it, so it’s been really good,” Praveen Parboteeah said. He is a board member for Whitewater Grocery Co. as a board officer and a COBE Distinguished Professor and Director, Doctorate of Business Administration Program for the College of Business and Economics.
For many people who are a part of the business in some way, there is a lot of time and energy put into this project. There are also many people part of the business or helping out the business in some way who are very passionate about the overall mission of the Whitewater Grocery Co. and driven to making it happen.
The hope is that the grocery store gets built in 2021.
For more information about the Grocery Co-op, visit https://www.whitewatergrocery.co/.