Leigh Bowden, Charlie and Sue Sheahan at the open day.
It’s been a long time coming, after three years of hard work, the Coota Co-Op has finally opened its doors to the public for the first time with an open day last Saturday that welcomed Cootamundra into the brilliant culmination of community action.
The Coota District Co-Op Open Day saw members coming along to help unpack and hang stock, put together furniture and get rid of packaging which has saved three weeks of work, showing the passion Coota has for the community.
The open day saw members get together to admire the space and see what the Co-Op brings to the table.
Long time supporter and steering committee member, Richard White, was happy to see the project reach the final stages.
“It was good, I popped in about an hour after the open day began and there were people milling around and lots of volunteers there helping to set out the garments and everything for the actual opening,” he said.
“There was just a very cooperative and friendly atmosphere.” Mr White was part of the original steering committee and remained for a while as a non-voting member to help the project get off its feet in the early days.
“I’ve been involved in it for about 18 months and I saw the ups and downs. It took a long time.
“I’m extremely pleased to see what it is now. Not a little bit surprised, it just kept moving. Just when you thought you’re not going to get there, we still made that next step. It depends very much on the goodwill of local people because without them, it won’t work. That goodwill has grown gradually over the last three years.
“The few people that I spoke to were very enthusiastic. The idea of having an open day was an excellent idea and it’s kept people’s interest in us. It’s a good reward to members to give them a privileged position to see how it’s developing prior to the actual opening.
“When I look at the town and there have been times when there have been a significant number of empty shops in Cootamundra, it’s probably in a better condition at the moment. Having seen Target go and Rockmans go, those big retail stores be replaced by something that’s owned by the community, run by the community, it’s got potential to overcome that neglect of regional interests that occur among big businesses.”
Keep an eye on the Coota Co-Op as once its official opening begins, Cootamundra can enjoy a store owned and run by locals, not big businesses.