A community meeting on August 27 will explore the option of setting up a community co-operative to continue to provide Cootamundra locals with affordable lines of clothing and manchester after Target closes permanently early next year.
A campaign to have parent company Wesfarmers spare the popular main street store from its list of those to close has been unsuccessful with attention now turning to how best to ensure residents do not have to go out of town for similar items to those they could previously purchase from Target.
The co-operative is the brainchild of Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Councillor Leigh Bowden with the community meeting being facilitated by the Cootamundra Development Corporation (CDC).
CDC manager Leah Sutherland said the co-operative does not necessarily need to run out of the current Target premises, although that would be considered if the privately owned building was to become available.
"It is about ensuring locals still have access to the types of things Target sold; not so much about filling the physical building," Ms Sutherland said.
She reiterated the plan is very much in the early stages at present with the CDC initially focussing on gauging community interest, in particular from those businesspeople who might financially support the start-up of the venture.
"We are only limited by the imagination of those who jump on board," Ms Sutherland said.
She said other small towns have had success with similar co-operative concepts.
"If we band together as a community, we don't have to lose out when Target closes," she said.
The community meeting will be held on Thursday, August 27 at the Cootamundra Ex-Services Club, commencing at 5.45pm.
Registration for the event is necessary due to Covid requirements with Ms Sutherland indicating either the Wattle Room or the auditorium will be used depending on numbers to ensure community members are adequately socially distanced.
The meeting will be addressed by Anthony Taylor, policy and research advisor of the Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals.
All interested community members are welcome at the meeting, which will also provide an opportunity to ask questions of Mr Taylor.
The community meeting has been financially backed by a number of Cootamundra businesses.
Target will close in March 2021. While some Target stores will be able to be converted to Kmart stores, another Wesfarmers brand, Cootamundra did not fit the criteria for this option.
A public campaign to save the store was not enough to see it spared.
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