EMERSON, Neb. -- A co-op grocery store in northeast Nebraska hosted a gathering Wednesday to garner feedback from its community and answer questions before it opens in a couple of weeks.

"Every town needs a bank, a post office, and a grocery store to survive," said Brian Horak, general manager of Post 60 Market in Emerson, about its importance.

"I'm very optimistic about the potential, I think this is a building block to more things," Nathan Mueller, board vice president said. "Hopefully, it will motivate [people] to try new things. I don't know what that is, [maybe] it's a tire repair shop."

It all started in 2020, when the co-op board started a committee to gauge interest in the project. 

"The feedback was really positive," Mueller said. "So from there, we decided to incorporate as a cooperative in August of last year."

That's when Horak joined, after moving back from Arizona. 

They decided to name it Post 60 after the American Legion which owned the building before.

National labor shortages did not offer a challenge for them to go forward, as volunteers swept in by the dozen. In fact, Post 60 will be opening with around eight employees, already. And, Horak said, he believes this store will continue to succeed because of its number of members with relevant experience and background.

He's hoping that might motivate more people to invest too, as they have 100 shares left. There are two ways to invest: common shares ($500) or preferred shares. You do have to buy a common share before you can have a preferred share. Common shares are limited to one per person to give everyone equal voting rights. A limit to preferred shares is 20% of the outstanding. Currently, they have 100 to sell. The difference between each stock is the dividend behind each one. With common shares, the common dividend is based on the shareholder's purchases from the store. Preferred dividends can be paid out based on the individual's investment into the store. 

"There is potential in each share," Mueller, vice president of the board said. 

Post 60 may also be able to offer delivery and other services in the future.

Board members invite Emerson residents to share specifically what products they want to see at the store.

"The people here really want to see things succeed [...] You can see it in attendance today and shares sold," said Mueller.

Both men grew up in Emerson, working for and watching the impact the previous grocery store had had -- and Horak even opened a grocery in Springfield with his twin -- so, they say, they know this can be the start of a new era for Emerson. 

"It makes me nervous, I really do see the potential of it, but I just don't want to be wrong! [...] But I love watching the community support it, it's like seeing your kid grow up," said Mueller. 

The store is set to open in August.