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Cooperative market to hold opening celebration in Amherst

The store, which is run like an indoor, year-round farmers market selling locally produced food and crafts, started doing business at 104 North Pleasant St. in late November in what organizers called a “soft opening.” The Saturday celebration will officially open the second half of the market’s space, which has expanded into an area formerly used by Food For Thought Books. The bookstore, which is still located next door, reduced its space by half in January in a cost-cutting move.

“It roughly doubles the size of our store,” said market general manager Al Sax.

On Saturday, The Expandable Brass Band from Northampton will be playing outside beginning around 10:30 a.m. Story, an Amherst Democrat, is scheduled to arrive at 11 a.m. and farmers and craftspeople will be on hand all day long doing demonstrations. A variety of other musical acts will be performing in the expanded section of the market, Sax said. After the market closes at 5 p.m., the partying will continue for co-op members, he said.

The store, which carries an array of goods including meats, dairy products, fruits, vegetables and handcrafted items, now has 75 producers selling their wares, he said. Producers, who set their own prices, get 80 percent of the proceeds and the store takes 20 percent to cover operating costs. There is also a cafe in the rear of the market selling prepared foods.

Since opening in November, Sax said, the store has seen growth in the number of farmers, craftspeople and co-op members.

“We’re getting new products all the time,” he said. Just this week, the store added Frigo spaghetti sauce made in Springfield and vinegar produced by Pioneer Valley Vinegar Works of Easthampton to its list of offerings, he added.

Sales have increased, too, as customers have found their way to the store, he said. “The weather hasn’t been too cooperative this winter,” he said, “but we’ve been very happy with how things have been going. People are very excited that they can get fresh and local produce here all year long.”

All Things Local is open every day except Mondays. Weekday hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays the market is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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