Astoria Co-op Grocery squashed its owner equity drive goal, raising nearly $30,000 to kickoff raising cash for a store expansion. The Co-op’s original $10,000 goal for October was achieved in the first week of the equity drive. The money came from existing Co-op owners paying off their shares, and 66 new owners signing up. “We heard in our strategic planning process that Co-op owners and shoppers wanted to see a bigger store and our successful equity drive is further evidence of the community’s enthusiasm for it. We’d like to thank our owners for the outpouring of support,” Co-op Marketing Director Zetty Nemlowill said. The Co-op is in the planning stage of a new store and seeks a location in Astoria that’s visible from the highway. Based on public input and the direction of the Co-op’s board of directors, the Co-op aims to have more space for efficient deliveries and back-stock, healthy deli foods, produce, meats and seafood with an aim of more variety, more local products, good jobs, and better prices for shoppers. The business is a consumer-owned cooperative, currently comprised of nearly 3,500 citizens. Shoppers become owners by purchasing a share, which provides equity for the business to grow. Everyone can shop and anyone can become an owner. A full share in the Co-op costs $200 which can be paid in $25 annual payments. There will be more opportunities for the community to help with fundraising, but for now the Co-op will continue to try and grow sales in order to save up for future expansion. What shoppers can expect at the Co-op presently is more competitive prices, aggressive sales, and emphasis on unique local offerings.