County Awards Incentive Grant to Lovettsville Co-op

The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a proposal to provide a $60,000 grant to support construction of the Lovettsville Cooperative Market. 

The money will come through the Economic Development Authority as part of the county’s business incentive program.

The co-op is a 7,500-square-foot grocery store under construction near Lovettsville’s Town Center neighborhood. The store was decades in the planning as area residents sought to create a local alternative to their grocery trips to Purcellville or Brunswick, MD.

It was the organizers’ commitment to supporting local farmers and rural businesses that landed the grant.

Normally, the nonprofit wouldn’t quality for incentive funding through the county’s program. For instance, the $1.8 million capital investment falls short of the $5 million policy threshold, the average employee salary is below the county’s average wage of $71,000, and the county is not competing with another locality or state for the business.

Still, Department of Economic Development Executive Director Buddy Rizer said the business is expected to have a positive impact in supporting area agricultural businesses. Under the proposed grant provisions, the co-op will commit to using local vendors for at least 25% of total store sales and at least 50% of its in-season produce, meats, and craft beverage. The $60,000 equates to about three years of projected local tax revenue to be generated by the project.

“Because they have committed to a portion of their supplies to come from the local area, we think this is something that is worthwhile to support their efforts and fits in well with our Loudoun Made Loudoun Grown program,” he said.

Supervisors agreed.

“That’s going to be a big deal to our farmers,” Supervisor Tony Buffington (R-Blue Ridge) said. “It’s going to be really great.”

Supervisor Caleb Kershner (R-Catoctin) said he knows Lovettsville-area residents need a local store. 

“This is desperately needed. This is going to be an anchor type grocery store,” he said, adding, “Even Middleburg—way out in the middle of nowhere—has this little Safeway.”

“I think it’s going to be a huge hit. I think people will be coming from all parts of Loudoun and beyond to shop here,” Buffington said.

County Chair Phyllis Randall (D-At Large) recalled meeting with co-op founders, Pam Baldwin and her late husband Malcolm, several years ago to learn about their plans. She noted that the grant amount was reduced from the original request and would provide important seed money to get the venture up and running. 

But in addition to the economic impacts, she said the county grant also supports the vision of a prominent conservation advocate who died in 2018.

“It feels like this is part of an homage to Malcolm because he was a wonderful human being,” she said.

4 thoughts on “County Awards Incentive Grant to Lovettsville Co-op

  • 2022-09-21 at 4:22 pm
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    Thank you to the BOS for approving this grant. “Buy fresh, buy local” is not just a catch phrase, it is a way of life for many in western Loudoun. Those of us who trek to Frederick County’s Common Market Co-op (a fabulous co-op and mentor) will now have an option in downtown Lovettsville.

    And a special thank you to Tony Buffington for being a stellar ally to western LoCo. I hope others will follow your lead.

  • 2022-09-21 at 6:33 pm
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    A standing ovation to the supervisors. They’re supporting a worthy cause. The co-op movement began in the 1800s, when the Industrial Revolution displaced many workers. Weavers in particular were hit hard. How nice that Lovettsville finally will have a food co-op. I hope I’m fortunate to shop there someday. Welcome to Fall Loudoun!

  • 2022-09-22 at 8:13 am
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    This makes so much more sense than the random $50K checks the Economic Development folks dropped on suspect businesses with their COVID payouts (the Business Reinvestment & Recovery Grants). For example, about a mile from my house there’s a store that claims to be a “farm market” to boost local farmers but it’s selling stuff from Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland and beyond. County gave them $50,000. You can see the payouts at https://biz.loudoun.gov/loudoun-business-fund/

  • 2022-09-23 at 12:54 pm
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    That’s OUR money the BOS taxed from us and is giving away to other people. Return it to taxpayers, not favored people. If the BOS wants to promote businesses, lower taxes for everyone!

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