Dubuque Food Co-op could open soon, nears 1,500 members - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque Food Co-op could open soon, nears 1,500 members

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

Dubuque Food Co-op board member Karla Braig is ecstatic about the group's business opening.

"It's huge and it's wonderful," she said, showing off the inside of a brand-new, walk-in cooler recently installed in the co-op's approximately 6,000 square-foot space in the city's Historic Millwork District.

Braig, also a Dubuque city council member, said the co-op's membership is now nearing 1,500 -- a goal she said leaders would love to hit by Christmas -- and all the fundraising has been successful.

She admits, however, that some people are skeptical of the project, as its opening date has been pushed back from 2012 to the spring of 2013 to the fall of 2013, and now the spring of 2014.

Even a walk through the Dubuque Food Co-op's space in the Schmid Innovation Center, formerly called the Caradco Building, reveals relatively bare walls, ceiling and floor, with little more than construction equipment and several large walk-in coolers.

"It is opening. It's not a joke," Braig said. "Believe me, we walked into this two years ago as neophytes. We thought we could do it much more quickly and we just couldn't, but we learned a lot and we learned that it takes two years."

Now, Dubuque Food Co-op leaders are saying the spring of 2014 is a realistic opening goal, though they won't give an exact date.

"Too many things are variable, although those variables are fewer and fewer now that our funds are secure," Braig said. "Now our only variables would be, 'How soon can the electricians get here and finish the build-out?' 'How soon will the condensers be put in in the basement?'"

The Dubuque Food Co-op's general manager Patrick Brickel is the former purchasing manager at New Pioneer Food Co-op in Iowa City and Coralville.

People interested in learning more about the Dubuque Food Co-op or its membership can click HERE.

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