Fresh, local, organic, good-for-you food is our motto and we have prided ourselves on offering exactly that to our community since 1970. Fresh and local go hand-in hand as we purchase as many products as possible from the Willamette Valley and surrounding areas. These products include body care, grocery and bulk items, produce, dairy, cheese, wine, beer, deli items, mercantile and garden items. Organic products are found throughout our store, in all departments. We offer Good-for-You food through a wide range of products that do not contain artificial colors or flavors, preservatives, trans fats, high fructose corn syrup and many other substances linked to health problems. In 2008 we began a campaign to keep only source verified chocolate and cocoa products in our store. October 2008 is our target date for removing all products using pooled chocolate sources. Our belief is the closer a food is to its natural state, the better it is for you.
Begun as a buying club in an era when agricultural sustainability was a fringe concept, First Alternative has grown into a vibrant $14 million business with two stores in Corvallis, Oregon. We serve more than 6,500 owners and their households, and countless other shoppers. Approximately 1800 shoppers come through our stores on any given day. Throughout our history, we have been committed to our community not only by offering a healthy alternative in groceries but through a range of community projects and donation programs. Two of our biggest programs are "Beans for Bags" and "Carts for Corvallis" in which we give almost $30,000 annually through donations to local charitable and environmental organizations. We also make in-kind contributions to an average of 200 local fundraisers. We operate a community demo booth at many events in our area, introducing area residents to our products and services.
First Alternative is proud to be a leader in our community in more ways than one, such as working with the Department of Energy on the Solar CREEK project that led to solar panels being installed on the roofs of both of our stores and having the excess solar energy available for purchase by Corvallis residents. We also serve as a recycling center, accepting items that include ones not taken at regular curbside pickups such as Styrofoam, all types of hard and soft plastics, batteries, flower pots, garden twine and corks.
Beginning in the fall of 2008, our North Store will undergo an expansion, which will nearly double the size of our current space. This expansion will allow us to increase the amount of products we offer in all departments, along with adding a deli and eating area. Our shoppers have asked for more services and now we'll be able to deliver!