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North Gwinnett Co-op breaks ground on new facility

Special Photo The North Gwinnett Co-op volunteers and staff shown at the new facility.

Special Photo The North Gwinnett Co-op volunteers and staff shown at the new facility.

BUFORD -- A next phase in the North Gwinnett Co-Op's ongoing growth was celebrated on Monday at a groundbreaking of a new facility.

The 22-year-old organization, which began in the basement of a church, moved into a new building on Commerce Drive in Buford. It previously was in a space donated by the city of Buford.

The co-op, which provides food, clothing, heat, water, electricity and school supplies to residents in Buford, Sugar Hill and Suwanee, will be in a 6,500-to-8,000 square-foot space that will be built out by September.

"It's been a vision and dream to move in this direction, to know we will have a permanent home," said Executive Director Maureen Kornowa. "It's taken dedication of the board members, and the bank working with us, to help us grow."

While the new space would have less square footage than the co-op's current facility, Kornowa said the open space would be more efficient and easier to organize, with four in-take offices. The organization would also expand its weekly hours, Kornowa said, although she wasn't sure how much longer they would be open beyond the current six hours.

Last year, the organization provided food and financial services to more than 14,400 people, and Thanksgiving and Christmas meals to more than 458 families, winter coats and clothing to more than 1,400 people. The co-op has also raised almost $18,000 through its thrift store.