Building A Thriving Food Co-op
Did you know that 70% of food co-ops are still thriving after 5 years in business? Just 1 in 3 small businesses can say the same. So what’s the co-op secret? GROW, FUND, BUILD. It’s a 5-8-year startup process with proven results. And our national and regional partners – Food Co-op Initiative and Neighboring Food Co-op Association – guide us every step of the way.
We GROW our Ownership base – almost 1,000 eager, invested Owner shoppers – before we ever open our doors. We FUND with a capital campaign that supplements bank funds and ensures that we thrive on Day 1 and Day 1,000. And we BUILD a store located and sized to give us the best chance of success.
This is the longest stage of the process (3-5 years), but we’re almost there! With more than 800 Owners now on board, we’re nearing our 900 Owner goal. And while we’ll continue to grow our ownership into the thousands (the more Owners, the stronger the co-op), 900 Owners allows us to plan our next steps: settling on a final store site, planning our capital campaign, and then building our store!
A capital campaign typically takes 4-6 months. According to our current projections, we will need to raise about $1.2 million. This is done through Owner loans and/or a preferred share program (shares that operate like stock). Outside this $1.2 million, we will seek available grants of at least $250,000. All Owners, regardless of their participation in the capital campaign, have an equal voice in our store
While this is no small effort, we are not alone. Food Co-op Initiative and Neighboring Food Co-op Association provide expert consultants to train co-op boards and volunteers in executing short, effective capital campaigns. They are excellent at what they do, and our Board and volunteers will be ready. All Owners, regardless of their participation in the capital campaign, always have an equal voice in our store.
This stage varies in length based on our chosen site – purchase, lease, new build, renovation. Our market studies show that our region can support a 7,500-10,000 square-foot store, a sizable grocery store!
The Board is now actively looking at potential store locations in Maynard, which our market and feasibility studies determined is the ideal location. The town is surrounded by farms, surrounded by communities that value local food, and is at the intersections of major routes (2, 27, 117, and 62). If no location is available in Maynard when we pass the 900-Owner threshold, the Board will bring it back to our Owners to determine whether we wait for a Maynard location or search just outside the town’s borders. But Maynard remains the target location. The Board will not sign on a site until after we pass our 900-Owner goal.
Join today and help us pass the 900-Owner threshold and open our community owned grocery store. BECOME AN OWNER TODAY!: http://assabetvillage.coop/join-online/