HASTINGS - Spiral Natural Foods Co-op is kicking off their Building Bridges campaign with a open house on Thursday, March 1 from 6-8 p.m. at the Onion Grille. The kick-off party will feature live music and hors d'oeuvres and give the community an opportunity to learn more.

"If you believe in having a co-op in this community, if you want to have access to good food then I would have you attend and see how you can help or join to help support that," said Matt Malecha, general manager of Spiral Natural Foods.

Spiral Co-op has been serving the Hastings community since 1979. Although the co-op has been in the community for nearly 40 years, everyone in the community is familiar with who they are.

Malecha said the Building Bridges campaign is a way to strengthen the co-op so they can continue to be part of the Hastings community for years to come. During the months of March and April, the campaign will feature special promotions at the store and product samplings. Children accompanying their parents are welcome to grab from a selection of fresh fruit in a basket by the door to munch on while their parents shop.

A person does not need to be a member of the co-op to shop in the store. However, during the campaign, prizes and drawings will be available for individuals who choose to join the co-op as a member.

Malecha said one thing that sets Spiral Co-op apart from other grocery stores in town is that they support the small farmers and local producers. There are some people that simply bring in their duck eggs from their farm.

"We really strive to make sure that we grow local businesses, support farmers and make sure that we're providing what our members and what the community is looking for," Malecha said.

Spiral Foods was first located in downtown Hastings. When the co-op eventually grew out of the space, it moved two times still within the downtown area. In 2011, Spiral Natural Foods opened its doors to its current location at 1250 S. Frontage Road in Hastings.

As far as the co-op can tell, Malecha said they are the longest running grocery store in Hastings that is still in existence today. Their ultimate goal is to to be able to expand and grow the store, but he said they will need a little bit of a bump in funds to move in the right direction.

"We believe in the project and we're hoping that others will too," Malecha said.