Big Hollow Food Co-op officially opened its new location in the Empress Building on 112 S. 2nd Street at noon on Tuesday and a crowd of excited patrons were there to celebrate the opening.

Marla Petersen, Big Hollow Food Co-op general manager since the store’s outset nearly 11 years ago, said she is happy with the way the new store turned out.

“I’m really happy, excited, a little tired, a little rattled, but for the most part really happy that we made our goal of opening today at noon,” Petersen said. “I feel like the store is where I want it to be, considering what it’s taken to get here.”

Petersen said that she and others at the co-op have been trying to figure out a way to expand the business for about five years.  She said that all of the co-op’s lines have been expanded, including more produce and more freezer space.

“Everything is bigger and better than it was before,” Petersen said. “And there’s more to come. We are going to continue developing and growing this business.”

The expansion of the co-op was largely possible through the support of the community, Petersen said. Petersen said that the current staff and even some previous staff, were very helpful during the expansion.

“We have a lot of very dedicated staff and previous staff,” Petersen said.

The co-op has already hired 6 new staff members to man the new location. Petersen said that once the co-op determined what its needs were, it may hire more staff.

“We are really excited, this has been an amazing opportunity. We are so grateful to the Wyoming Business Council, the community, to Laramie Main Street, to the City of Laramie, staff, everybody that just came together to make this happen.”