POULTNEY — In the wake of Green Mountain College’s announcement last month to close, the Stone Valley Community Market on Main Street in Poultney announced that it will dismantle the cooperative instead of re-opening.
“The board feels strongly that full dissolution is the only reasonable and ethical course forward,” according to a statement from the market.
“We have called a member meeting for Feb. 21 to have the membership vote on whether or not to accept the board’s recommendation to dissolve the co-op,” said board chairwoman Samantha Kowalski.
In its statement, the board said it lost a $10,000 grant and the market is in a “dire financial place,” made worse by closure of the college.
“Our previous board recommended to close back in the fall, but our recommendation was turned down and a new board stepped up hoping to turn things around,” said former board member Pamela Burlingame. “ They were hoping to reopen the store this month.”
But the small grocery store that sold local meats, cheeses, produce, canned goods and bulk and organic products and holistic medicine will not reopen its doors.
“We are all very sad to be losing this business and, more importantly, community resource that gave us access to healthy and local food on Main Street,” Burlingame said. “It had a good seven-year run, but just hasn’t been able to support itself financially.”
Burlingame said the closure was directly related to the announcement that GMC will not reopen for fall semester. The market had closed in December with plans to reopen in February.
On Martin Luther King Day, GMC hosted a volunteer cleanup day for anyone at the college and throughout the community who wanted to help fix up the market with plans to reopen.
But two days later, the college board of trustees voted to close the school, and the blow was too big for the market to sustain, so the decision was made to voluntarily liquidate assets earlier this month, should co-op members vote to go through with the closure.
In a plan of liquidation and dissolution, the co-op said the building and all utilities will be transferred to GMC, and a work-out agreement of debt cancellation will be arranged with creditors and other stakeholders to address any long-term liabilities.
Any remaining assets will go to members of the co-op, and may be paid as time goes on, the release said.
Telephone service to the market has already been discontinued.
A GoFundMe page was organized online by Annie Tuthill and Samantha Kowalski to move toward a $20,000 goal that would help with renovation expenses for the building, electrical work, remodeling the kitchen inventory and other business expenses.
The group planned to implement a seated area in the café and obtain a commercial kitchen license, and serve coffee, lattes and pastries from local bakers, the website said.
The group said it planned to expand the discounted foods section, host educational workshops and host an indoor winter Poultney Farmers’ Market.
Nineteen people donated a combined $1,090 as of Feb. 13, according to the site.