Community Carrot Co-op plans its Rebirth in Halifax

5 11 2015

Gottingen Street shop looks at offering ‘Halifax’s best,’ plus affordable fresh produce

By Jon Tattrie, CBC News Posted: Nov 05, 2015 6:00 AM AT Last Updated: Nov 05, 2015 6:00 AM AT

The Carrot Co-op is mostly closed these days, but Stone Hearth Bakery opens its doors three days per week.

The Carrot Co-op is mostly closed these days, but Stone Hearth Bakery opens its doors three days per week. (CBC)

Halifax’s Community Carrot Co-op may reopen after suddenly shutting down when funds ran out last month.

The Gottingen Street store opened more than a year ago. Since closing the doors in October, some of the co-op’s 900 members have met several times to plant seeds for what they’re calling Carrot 2.0.

“The concept that we’ve come up with is ‘Halifax’s best.’ We want to create a destination where people can come in, they can find the local products that we’re all proud of here in Halifax,” says co-op member Kevin Musgrave.

He lives near the store and regularly shopped there. He says the new vision would involve many independent vendors renting space in the co-op’s building and selling their local goods, rather than the previous grocery-store model.

They’re talking to potential vendors and Musgrave says Carrot 2.0 could involve things like a local butcher, local brewers and crafters.

But he says the “social enterprise” will stick to its roots. “We want to showcase Halifax’s best products under one roof and resume our social mission, which is bringing fresh, affordable food to Gottingen Street,” Musgrave says.

He asks potential vendors to contact the co-op on Twitter or via their website. The co-op hopes to have the new version open before Christmas.

Helping out

One vendor is already operating out of the co-op.

When Stone Hearth Bakery heard the Carrot was closing, they were doubly disappointed. They’d lost a valuable part of the community, and a good venue to sell their products.

John Hartling says the co-op and bakery share many goals.

John Hartling says the co-op and bakery share many goals. (CBC)

They offered to run the shop a few days a week, selling their baked goods as well as produce and the remaining non-perishable stock.

“It’s a small community and we really want to support the Carrot, so we are renting at the Carrot and helping them cover their operational costs,” says John Hartling, the general manager of Stone Hearth Bakery.

Stone Hearth also describes itself as a social enterprise. For more than 30 years, it’s helped people get back into the workforce after suffering from poor mental health.

Last week, Hartling said they tried a “pay what you can” approach to selling some produce and baked goods.

“A lot of people that utilized the pay-what-you-can were really respectful. If they needed to have a significant discount, they were quite thankful for that opportunity, and I didn’t find people took advantage of it. We had a lot of people ask, ‘What should I pay for this?'”

Hartling says for now they’re opening the Carrot Thursdays and Fridays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., although he suggests checking the Facebook page before heading down.

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