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 – more than 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). We recently passed the 900-Owner mark, the minimum needed to actively pursue our store site! We’ll keep growing into the thousands, ensuring a strong capital campaign and a strong Co-op!
Soon after we choose our site, we launch a 4-6-month capital campaign. According to our current projections, we’ll need to raise about $1.2 million, depending on the final store location. This is done through Owner loans and/or a preferred share program (shares that operate like stock). Outside this campaign, 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 the capital campaign 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 quick, effective capital campaigns. They are excellent at what they do, and our Board and volunteers will be ready.
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.
The Board is now actively looking at potential 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 at the intersections of major routes (2, 27, 117, and 62). If no location proves viable in Maynard, 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 is now actively pursuing potential sites.
Join today and help open our community owned grocery store!: http://assabetvillage.coop/join-online/