Saint Peter’s Economic Development Authority signed off Thursday afternoon on refinancing that will allow for a nearly half-million dollar renovation of the St. Peter Food Co-op on Highway 169.

Community Development Director Russ Wille says the improvements were prompted by changes in the industry. 

“Their bulk sales are down, their deli sales are way up and their produce sales are way up. So, they’re going to be doing a largely interior remodeling to expand the deli to increase the flow within the deli department. They’re going to increase the size of their produce department. Then, because the millennials aren’t necessarily buying bulk foods, they’re going to reduce the size of their bulk food aisle. They’re also then gonna undertake a re-roofing and a little bit of an update on the facade.”

When the Food Co-op moved to its current location in the former Nielsen Chevrolet building in 2011, the City partially financed the renovation with a 350-thousand dollar, 0-percent interest loan.

With a clean payment history, Wille says the business will borrow the half-million dollars from CCF Bank for the improvements. The request to the EDA was approved to subordinate the existing mortgage to the new debt that would be brought in.

“So when we look at what they’ve paid down on the original CCF loan, it’s essentially going right back to the original financing, the split and the dollar amount. But, what a pearl, what a gem. It’s such a great place, it draws people from all over.”

Wille adds that an annual report suggests that 29-percent of what the business offers is organic food.