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Big Flat Grocery Receives Two Grants to help purchase a backup generator


December 26, 2018

Courtesy photos The Big Flat Market Cooperative has received a pair of grants to help them in their fundraising effort to acquire a backup generator to keep things operational during a power outage. The 30kW generator is estimated to cost $12,000 and will help avoid the risk of losing inventory due to a power outage.

The Big Flat Market Cooperative in Turner has been working towards the purchase of a backup generator that will enable them to protect their inventory and to remain in operation in the event of any power outages or power failures. To achieve their goal, they have applied for and received grants from both Northwest Farm Credit Services and the Big Flat Community Grain Bin Foundation.

In the past year, Big Flat Grocery was closed on five different occasions due to power outages. Under such circumstances, they have relied on the generosity of community members who have loaned them tractors equipped with a power take-off shaft in order to run a generator, but according to cooperative member Linda Hutton, a generator is a good investment for the store.

"With a generator, we can maintain proper temperatures if the power goes out. A generator will protect our inventory from freezing or thawing while also ensuring that we are more self-sufficient," Hutton said.

"When an outage occurs, it is most often not in ideal weather conditions, and most people have their own homes and livestock to worry about. The risk of losing inventory or even a freezer if a surge occurs is not something we felt we could afford, so the board of directors of the co-op decided to pursue the purchase of a backup generator. In order to help with the expense of such an investment, we applied for a couple of grants. We were awarded $1200 from our local Big Flat Community Grain Bin Foundation and $2000 from Northwest Farm Credit Services. We are very thankful for this assistance!" Hutton explained.

The two grants will help to fund the purchase and installation of a 30-kilowatt (kW) generator, which will cost approximately $12,000, and any monies accumulated for the project will be put into the co-op's savings account until their fundraising goal is complete.

"Although a 25kW would probably run everything we have in the store, the electrician recommended a 30kW to reduce the load on the generator. A 25kW would just have to work too hard," Hutton said.

The Big Flat Market Cooperative would also like to acknowledge Joe and Shannon Brown of Turner, who donated the cement for a pad to set the generator on as well as some concrete to build a pad for a self-contained walk in freezer.

According to Hutton, who also works at the store, Turner was without a grocery store for a period of time until the community came together to form a co-op to get one reopened. Because the building that houses the store was built in the early 1900's, it required improvements, many of which have been made. But maintenance remains an ongoing issue.

"In the summers of 2017 and 2018, we had the outside of the building completely re-stuccoed, and it really made a huge improvement to Turner's Main Street. The purchase of a generator is just one more step in making the store the best we can and for ensuring that it is available to the community as much as possible," stated Hutton.

The Big Flat Grocery, located at 115 Main Street in Turner, is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. They are closed on Sundays.


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