Downtown Concord almost lost a pillar of the community: the Concord Co-operative Market. What once was a dark 2,700 square-foot basement space, has been transformed into a beautiful, 5,200 square-foot store on South Main Street. The shelves are stocked with organic and locally grown food, hundreds of products are available in bulk, and a small café is located in the front of the new Market.
Through the CDBG Economic Development Program, CDFA granted $220,000 to Merrimack County on behalf of the Capital Regional Development Council and the Market to purchase equipment for the store’s expansion. As a result of this project, the Market created 11 new jobs, 10 of which were filled with low- to moderate-income people. Total project cost was approximately $1.3 million.
Because of the expansion, Rhonda Turpin, a graduate of Southern New Hampshire University’s Culinary Program, was hired by the Market to become the Prepared Foods Manager.
A former caterer, Rhonda says, “At catering, you work long hours and I have two kids. This is different because it is a management position and there is more of a set schedule.
"This is a great self esteem and confidence move for me. Having not been long out of college and having gone to college in my later years, I hadn’t even thought about managing because I couldn’t put my mind around it. The Co-op is awesome because I have the ability to take management courses. I think it is going to help me, but more importantly, it will help my department in the long run because I could go (to classes) and implement or change some of my tactics as to how I am managing.
"This job is by far better because of the business itself--the benefits, the wages--they really take care of their employees. They have really good health insurance here. They care that you’ve worked way too many days in arrow, and they care that you are hitting your max.”