By Jackson Russell
THE Romsey Co-Op is preparing for its grand opening on Saturday after months of work and three years after the concept was intiitally floated.
The Romsey Co-Op is an entirely volunteer-run shop facilitated by the Romsey Neighbourhood House, featuring the wares of producers from Romsey, Lancefield and the surrounding areas along with affordable home-cooked meals, haircuts, a commercial kitchen, workshops, a community garden, and a community food-share program.
The shop is an extension of the work Romsey Neighbourhood House has been doing for several years.
Romsey Co-Op manager and Romsey Neighbourhood House co-ordinator Michelle Balthazar said the co-op’s motto was ‘for the community, by the community’.
“We’ve been looking for a space for about three years now,” she said.
“From working with our craft groups, they were feeling frustrated that they’re producing some brilliant stuff but just didn’t any avenues in which to sell it so we worked in with them and it’s about us trying to meet the needs of the community.
“We’ve got a fabulous range of locally made items, really showing all the talents and creativity of our locals.
“All the profits go straight back to the into the community towards various initiatives trying to address the communities needs that they identified.”
Ms Balthazar said the store had already received an ‘incredible’ amount of support from the community with its Facebook following growing by more than 200 in a day.
“It was really beautiful. We got some doors and we couldn’t get them out at the trailer so our beautiful neighbours from the tattoo parlour came over and even pulled in one of their clients to help move the door inside,” she said.
“It just shows a beautiful amount of goodwill among the community. We’ve had so much support from other local businesses as well.”
Part of the grand opening will be the launch of a ‘clothe it forward’ initiative where people who make a purchase at the Romsey Co-Op will receive a gift voucher they can pass on to a family in need who can then redeem it for new clothing from major retailers.
“Every Saturday, we’ll have the back area where we’ll have a heap of brand-new clothing donated from major retailers and people can redeem the gift vouchers for the clothing,” Ms Balthazar said.
“We just don’t want to see anyone go without this Christmas.”
The Romsey Co-Op will be open at 126 Main Street, Romsey seven days a week, from 9.30am to 5.30pm Monday to Saturday and from 10.30am to 2.30am on Sundays, with the potential for evening openings in future.
The grand opening on Saturday will feature buskers and a sausage sizzle along with everything the co-op has to offer.
For more information or to get involved, email firstname.lastname@example.org.