(Host) Burlington has been without a grocery story for two and a half years, so when the doors to a new downtown market opened on Wednesday it was big event. The Onion River Co-op opened its City Market to a crowd of shoppers and politicians, including Mayor Peter Clavelle.
For some residents, the process of building a new downtown grocery was slow and painstaking. Michael Focociello, who lives four blocks away, was enthusiastic about the opening:
(Focociello) “I’ve been waiting for two years. I live four blocks away. We drive by every day and we’re like, ‘I think they’re almost done!’ peering in the windows.”
The last major grocery store in downtown Burlington closed in June 1999. Since then, residents of Vermont’s largest city had to go to surrounding towns to buy groceries. Bill Stahl, a Burlington city councilor and supporter of the Co-op, says that the new store will be convenient for residents:
(Stahl) “For two and half years people had to travel outside of Burlington to shop. So this really fills a need, especially for lower income people without cars. People had to take the bus – now they can walk.”
(Host) The new market was not without controversy. Some residents supported a chain store grocery while others backed the cooperative. City Market is open seven days a week and carries a full line of groceries and other household items.