Pullman Good Food Co-op receives grant

$10,000 award aims to support community’s vision for local identity



Co-op President Destiny Sternod, second from left, and Tony Poston, Pullman Chamber and Visitor Center board president, second from right, hold their $10,000 check with other co-op supporters.

ANGELICA RELENTE, Evergreen editor-in-chief

The Pullman Good Food Co-op received a $10,000 grant from the Pullman Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center’s Community Investment Committee and hopes to provide healthier local food options.

The goal is to open a food cooperative store in Pullman, said Destiny Sternod, Pullman Good Food Co-op board president. Not only will the co-op provide healthy food, but also accessible prices for all income brackets of students and residents, she said.

The $10,000 grant will help pay for fees associated with incorporating as a cooperative, she said. The remaining amount will be allocated toward a feasibility study.

Sternod is also the owner of Main Street Squeeze, a local juice and smoothie shop in downtown Pullman. In comparison with starting her shop, she said a co-op requires certain unique standards and policies.

“Starting a cooperative is very different from starting a business,” she said.

The feasibility study is a pivotal point in a food co-op process, she said. A person will survey the area, scout potential sites, provide the cost of a project and develop a business plan.

“It’s a huge step for us and we’re ever so thankful to the Chamber for awarding this grant,” she said. “It’s really going to allow us to do this and to do it right.”

Board members of the Pullman Good Food Co-op hope to begin the feasibility studies by October.

This is the first time the co-op’s board members have applied for the grant, Sternod said.

The Community Investment Committee funds projects that align with the Pullman 2040 initiative, said Tony Poston, Pullman Chamber and Visitor Center board president. The initiative is a collective, long-range vision developed by members of the community. One of the concepts embedded in it is developing a community identity, Poston said.

“We’re looking for groups that are going to make a difference,” he said. “The effect will be seen for years to come.”

The Community Investment Committee received the $50,000 startup from remaining money left over from previous fundraisers, he said. It provides $250 to $10,000 worth of funding for those that apply.

Individuals or groups can submit paper or online copies of the application, which is then reviewed by the committee.

The committee immediately notifies those who are approved for the grant, he said. The checks are presented during the Pullman Chamber and Visitor Center general membership luncheon, which occurs the second Tuesday of every month.

The committee does not provide funds for fundraiser events, advertisements or operational expenses, he said. Two grants awarded in the past were for the Regional Theatre of the Palouse and the Palouse STEAM Coalition.