Local Roots announces plans to move, expand

Local Roots announces plans to move, expand

Local Roots Market & Cafe recently announced that it will be moving its downtown Wooster location to this spot on W. South St., currently the home of Ride On. Shown here are Bill Buckwalter, Ride On owner, left, Beth Ladrach, board president at Local Roots, and Local Roots Executive Director Adam Schwieterman.


The board of directors and staff at Local Roots Market & Cafe in down Wooster recently announced a planned move and expansion. Local Roots will be moving across the street to 146 W. South St. in Wooster. The property is currently owned and occupied by Ride On Wooster Bicycles.

The purchase is expected to take place in the fall of next year. Until that time, Ride On will continue to operate at its current location and capacity. Needed construction at the new address has a targeted completion date of fall of 2024.

Local Roots was created by a group of volunteers in 2009 as a year-round market where producers do not have to be on site to sell their goods. The area co-op offers seasonal, sustainable foods, artwork, and crafts of all kinds from over 200 local producers, as well as food and non-food staple items from environmentally and socially responsible businesses.

“It all started with a public interest meeting,” said Local Roots executive director, Adam Schwieterman. “And we are now over 2,700 members strong.”

Schwieterman explained that over the past few years, the community’s shopping patterns have shifted more and more toward a conscientious approach to where and how their money is being spent.

“(Local Roots) is a special kind of store where small, local businesses can get their foot in the door to operate, and also where customers can go to find unique products they can’t get just anywhere else,” said Schwieterman.

As the business has grown, both the size and age of the current building has become a limiting factor. The search was on to find something larger and newer in the same neighborhood. “The Ride On building turned out to be the perfect fit,” Schwieterman said.

Once open, the new market will be an expanded version of the current Local Roots. Increased square footage will allow space for a larger positive community impact through the addition of new producers and services from existing co-op member farmers, bakers, chefs and artisans.

At the new location, Local Roots will also continue to host small, independent shops such as Boo Bears Brews coffee shop (currently located in Local Roots) and a scaled down version of Ride On Wooster Bicycles. A new local non-profit organization, FoodSphere, will work with Local Roots from the new location, providing support services to small, local, food businesses. “All of these organizations working under the same roof create a unique hub that strengthens our cooperative model,” said Schwieterman.

With their rentable commercial kitchen and grocery market sharing a location, Local Roots provides a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs to get started in a low risk environment. “The end result we’re seeing is a bustling small food economy, and it’s happening right here in downtown Wooster,” said Schwieterman.

He explained that many communities covet the Local Roots model because “a vast majority of the impact from Local Roots stays here in the local economy, and that results in a happier and healthier community.”

Local Roots’ staff and board of directors plan on hosting a series of public interest meetings in the coming year where all co-op members will be invited to share thoughts and ideas on the look, feel and function of the new location.

“Chances like these do not come around often,” said Schwieterman. “So please stay tuned for where you help set the path for the future of our co-op.”

The cost for rebuilding the new facility will be substantial. Local Roots has received a state grant as well as contributions from local supporters.

“We are very thankful, and there is no doubt we will need more support to complete this transformational project over the next two years,” said Schwieterman, adding that the community can support the move by starting or continuing to shop at Local Roots.

For anyone interested in finding out more about donating to the expansion, contact Schwieterman at adam@localrootswooster.com.

For more information as plans for the move and new building develop, sign up for Local Roots weekly email newsletter at www.localroots.com. Follow Local Roots on Facebook and Instagram.

“What it all boils down to,” said Schwieterman, “Is that we are all taking care of each other, and growing that impact is what this expansion is all about. We hope this new space will be a pillar in our local food community for years to come.”

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