Pictured at the recent Garage Sale are Gwen Norman, Richard White, Donna Streher, Leigh Bowden, Des Guthrie, Richard Turnbull. Absent: Todd Basham out on delivery. Photo: Supplied.

The Coota District Co-op Steering Group of seven dedicated volunteers from our community have continued to diligently meet each week, giving up their time on a Wednesday to put their heads together and progress towards the near formation of a much-needed Co-operative store in Cootamundra.

Since outcry from the community fell on deaf ears when Wesfarmers persisted to shut the doors of Target in Cootamundra, the Steering Group has accomplished so much including initial engagement for professional advice, forming a Steering Committee, seeking the community’s input, and more recently raising more than $7,000 at a garage sale.

All of this in less than eight months.

Not only did the Garage Sale spread the positivity of the Co-op’s progress and allow the public to meet the members, it also raised amounts that help go towards registering relevant documents as well as producing a prospectus to attract investors and to developing a comprehensive business plan.

However, members had to reach out for donations and support from the community for the success of the Garage Sale.

Today, the Coota District Co-op Steering Group is moving forward and waiting for the final approval from the NSW Department of Fair Trading, after returning edits and suggestions of the rules and disclosure statement for checking.

Once a final approval has been given, then the Steering Group will have a formation meeting where the first directors will be elected.

Following on from that to the majority of the community’s eager anticipation, a date will be set for the official launch fo the Co-op and this will enable bank accounts to be set up for individuals to become members and shareholders in the Co-op.

“What we need from the community is patience and a willingness to be involved when we seriously begin the money raising,” Steering Group member Leigh Bowden said.

“This could be within the next few weeks.” The Steering Group is hoping to lease the existing premises where the Target store was previously.

The store was closed down on March 27 and according to a source, new fixtures will need to be put in place if the Steering Group takes over.

“We have an “in principle” agreement with a group of local business people who are working to buy the building,” a Steering Group spokesperson said.

“We also spent time recently with a business advisor formulating one, two and five year plans and vision statements.

“We have also acquired the services of a specialist Co-operative accountant who will be providing independent figures for the prospectus when it’s completed.”

The Steering Group said they are very excited to anticipate the formation meeting in the near future.

Christopher Tan