The Whitewater Grocery Co.’s membership has reached nearly 500 owners after a little more than a year since its incorporation.

Organizers of the initiative are inviting owners to a second annual meeting to review the next stages of the process and to discuss potential sites for a full-service grocery store.

It will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday in the Hamilton Room at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater’s University Center.

Whitewater, with a population of more than 14,000, has been without a full-service grocery since 2015, which is when Sentry closed its doors.

“The commitment and dedication from our community is what has gotten us this far and made us the fastest growing community-owned grocery initiative in the nation,” WWGROCO Board President Lacey Reichwald said in a news release.

Reichwald has been asked to speak to other groups around the Midwest about Whitewater’s project. She said the motivation is simple.

“Just have your only grocery store go out of business,” she said in the news release. “With over 14,000 people having to rely only on the partial grocery options of a Walmart, people get mobilized quickly.”

The effort is well on its way to reaching the next milestone in the process, which includes fine-tuning a business plan and “pro-forma” outlining the milestones required for the venture to be profitable.

The group also is preparing to pursue a second and more comprehensive market study. In addition, the second annual meeting will focus on the work that has been done toward selecting a potential site, voting on open board of director positions and deciding on whether to expand the board.

The meeting will be open to owners and members of their households. New owners can RSVP by calling 262-472-1218 or sign up at the meeting.

Regular business hours are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays and Fridays and 2 to 6 p.m. Wednesdays. Its office is in the UW-Whitewater Innovation Center.

Initial plans are pointing toward a full-service grocery roughly the size of stores such as Aldi or Trader Joe’s.

Whitewater Grocery Co. officially incorporated in March 2017.

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