WATERVILLE — In one of her final acts as mayor, Karen Heck sought to draw support for Barrels Community Market, a downtown food-and-craft cooperative started by Waterville Main Street.

“I’m doing this because I can,” she said. “You might as well use the position to do something,” she said.

Heck, who did not seek a second mayoral term, said she hoped her presence at the cooperative Saturday morning would help launch a fundraising campaign to raise $5,000 by year’s end so the cooperative can buy a delicatessen cooler.

Assistant Manager Jean Rosborough said the cooler would create an opportunity for the cooperative better to display and market prepared foods such as lentil and bean salads.

Last month, the cooperative installed an oven at its Main Street location in order to offer Saturday brunch.

It successfully raised about $2,000 to pay for that equipment.

Rosborough said the cooperative will begin offering Sunday brunches after Jan. 1.

Heck said Waterville Main Street started the cooperative as a nonprofit after a survey showed residents wanted a grocery store downtown.

“The whole point of it was to let people support local growers and producers of products and bring some vibrancy downtown,” she said.

The cooperative is supported by equity members, each of whom pay $100 to support the nonprofit, which markets locally sourced crafts and foods from across the state.

“They invest in the belief of a community market, which means they want to support local producers,” Rosborough said.

Heck said the cooperative is one of many organizations such as the library, the opera house, the homeless shelter, the food pantry, and Colby and Thomas colleges that work to support the local community.

“So many people are willing to chip in and do things that really make this town one that is a great place to live,” Heck said.

She continued, “We’re the ones who decide whether we want to have a vibrant downtown or not.”

Heck said her final act as mayor will be to speak at the inauguration of Mayor-elect Nick Isgro on Jan. 6.

Evan Belanger — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @evanbelanger

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