Viroqua Food Co-op Celebrates Expansion

The Viroqua Food Co-op celebrated the completion of its expansion project by hosting a grand reopening ribbon cutting, Thursday, Nov. 8.

“It’s an exciting day,” said Mike Link, president of the VFC Board of Directors. “We are thankful for the general manager and staff who lived and worked in the store while it was (built) around them.”

Link also thanked investors, shoppers, those who issued grants and banks that helped make the expansion possible.

Jan Rasikas, VFC general manager, thanked the co-op’s management team, staff and customers. She also thanked Weiser Brothers. “Weiser Brothers worked flawlessly.”

She also thanked the board of directors for their work during the expansion process. “It was a big learning curve and they went through it with unbelievable grace.”

Rasikas also expressed thanks for Cashton Bank and River Architects. In addition, she thanked the city of Viroqua for its help and the support of current Mayor Karen Mischel and former Mayor Larry Fanta.

Other speakers included Scot Wall, Bank of Cashton; Justin Kirking, USDA Rural Development; Andy Ahrendt, Bremer; Jennifer Kuderer, WEDC; and Mischel.

Kirking, USDA Development, said he hoped other communities would look at the food co-op and what it accomplished “and see what can be done with a shared vision.”

Mischel, who is also on VFC’s board of directors, said the cooperative has 4,000 members and the city of Viroqua has a population of 4,448 people. “It’s a testament (to) how we come together.”

The co-op celebrated the expansion Nov. 8-10 with producers providing free samples of their products, educational activities, cooking classes for adults and children, daily drawings, and live music each evening.

The Viroqua Food Co-op first opened its doors in 1995. In 2005, VFC completed construction of a 4,400-square-foot building at its current location on North Main Street. Twenty-three years later, the co-op completed its expansion project, doubling the retail space to more than 9,200 square feet.

The co-op doubled the fresh, organic produce section and added hundreds of new products throughout the store. The building project also includes a new indoor seating area, new bike racks and a bike repair station, more than 90 parking stalls, and 130 solar panels on the south-facing roof. An electric car-charging station will be added in the parking lot in the near future.

Angela Cina Vernon County Broadcaster   Nov 12, 2018

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