The organizers behind an effort to open a shareholder-owned department store in downtown Saranac Lake say they are nearing the finish line.
The board of directors for the Saranac Lake Community Store will hold an open house from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 5, during which residents are encouraged to suggest product lines for the store to carry.
Board members will also be available to answer questions.
Some 600 investors have already purchased shares of the Community Store, and board member Gail Brill says the effort is approximately $20,000 away from reaching its capital goal of $500,000.
Greg Moore owns the building on Main Street that formerly housed the Corvo's Restaurant. Brill says there is an agreement in place to lease the property.
"We need to raise another 200 shares to secure the site," she said. "We do have an agreement with Greg and it is our intention to, very soon, strike a deal on that property."
Brill adds that the board has put out a plea to current investors to purchase one additional share - which costs $100. That would put the Community Store over the top and on-track to open this summer.
The board of directors has begun interviewing potential candidates for management positions at the store.
Brill says the board wants community input on what sort of products to carry.
"We want community feedback from everybody - not just investors," she said. "We want input on the kinds of things that people want to buy in Saranac Lake but can't find."
Additionally, Brill says the Community Store's goal is to carry as many American-made products as possible.
"We feel that even in a small way we might be able to help strengthen American business and encourage manufacturing jobs to return to the U.S. - because they've left for China and other parts of the world," she said. "We want to focus on that - affordable American-made products."
Brill says that the former Corvo's site fits the needs of the Community Store, noting that it features some 5,000 square feet on the ground floor and is centrally located in the heart of the village.