Written by Melissa Gordon, Bluff Country Co-op
Since 1972, Bluff Country Co-op has provided the Winona area with quality food. The store, which is located at 121 W. 2nd Street in downtown Winona, will continue to do that and more when it nearly doubles in size this year.
BCC’s expansion will lead to the creation of new local jobs; more support for our local farmers, producers, and artisans; a noticeable contribution to Winona’s downtown revitalization project; more opportunities for consumers to keep their spending dollars in the local economy; and continued promotion of healthy eating habits and sustainable agriculture practices.
Bluff Country Co-op has always had a special focus on healthy, local, and organic food, but the larger space means the store can offer more options to the increased number of customers who are seeking these foods. Included in the new store will be an expanded deli and prepared foods section. Currently, BCC’s deli offers four different fresh soups daily as well as a variety of sandwiches and salads. Like the rest of the store, the deli stresses organic and sustainably grown ingredients, so customers can have the convenience of ready-to-eat food that is both good for them and good for the environment.
A classroom space is also included in the new store design, which will allow BCC the ability to offer more classes to more people. BCC currently hosts free cooking classes – including a monthly kids’ cooking class – in its deli seating area, but space is limited to only ten or twelve participants. The new classroom will accommodate more students and have appliances for teaching cooking skills.
With the new space, BCC will be able to make considerable contributions toward the solutions outlined in the Minnesota Food Charter, which seeks to improve the health and wellbeing of Minnesotans by providing affordable, safe, and healthy food.
Construction is scheduled to begin in the spring with a completion date of January 2017. BCC is committed to working with local businesses and using sustainable products as much as possible throughout the expansion project.