Mark Your Calendar for the 2014 Annual Owner’s Meeting
Monday, April 14 – 5:30 pm
First Presbyterian Church
716 College Ave., Racine
We’re excited to confirm the date for our 2014 Owners’ Meeting! As always, we look forward to bringing the community together for our annual meeting. (The meeting is open to all but only Member-Owners will be allowed to vote.)
An important order of business at the annual meeting is the election of directors to the Board. This Spring we will have four (4) Board positions open and we are actively seeking passionate and engaged leaders to fill those openings. Of special interest would be those with expertise in retail/grocery operations, finance/capital development, graphic design/marketing or fundraising. But mostly we need those with the willingness and capacity to offer their time, ideas and organizing skills since next steps include securing immediate and longer-term capital financing, designing and programming the store, renovations and hiring the General Manager who will oversee its operations. There is a lot of work left to do and we need directors who can commit to taking an active role in one or more of these important areas.
If you would like to be considered for a Board position, please review our Expectations Summary and submit an application. Applications must be received by March 14 to be considered for the ballot.
If you are unable to commit to a full Board role, perhaps you would be interested in sharing your skills at the committee level. With the selection of the site we have exponentially more work to do and each of our existing committees needs additional help. There is so much we need to do to move the project forward as quickly as possible but we can only progress at the speed of our existing man (and woman) power. Please consider volunteering – we have many different volunteer opportunities and are confident we can match you up with a task or project that will fit your skills and schedule. Click
here to get in touch with our Volunteer Coordinator, Margie Michicich.
The Wild Root Market Annual Meeting will conclude with a social hour including light refreshments. In true cooperative style, we're asking attendees to provide refreshments for the meeting such as baked goods or appetizers, sweet or savory treats that are ready to serve. If you can bring a dish or a treat, please let us know. We will follow up with additional information by email. Thank you for your help!
It's real... It's here... It's time.
Are you a part of the co-op yet? If not, this article is dedicated to you.
There are thousands of you who have Liked us on Facebook and signed up to receive our newsletters and have followed us for years but have not yet joined. We know, because you've told us, that it might be a matter of oversight or lack of time or a lack of understanding of the urgency of the matter, so we'd like to take the time to explain it so that we can inspire you to make joining the co-op a priority today.
We all understand that capital is needed to fund the start-up of any business and the availability of adequate capital will speed up or slow down the development of that business. In the case of a co-op, new member-owners provide that necessary capital and are required to adequately support its timely development; conversely, a lack of growth can bring the project to a grinding halt.
If you think back to October of 2012, you may remember that we challenged the public to help us grow our member-ownership from 425 to 675 so that we could be in the right position to secure Wild Root Market's future location. Well, it took us over 14 months to reach 625 owners on our registry. Feeling the understandable impatience of the public and our member-owners in equal doses, we moved forward in advance of our 675 target and secured our site.
As promised, after we secured it under contract - we let you know. Right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the winter holidays, we shared the exciting news of our first location at 1101 Grove Avenue in Racine! Now, it is time to rally our remaining supporters behind the project and gain their formal endorsement in the form of an ownership share.
Our contingent contract for our site at 1101 Grove Avenue in West Racine requires that we acquire our financing for the project within a specified timeframe. So, unlike before, we must meet firm deadlines so we do not risk losing the real estate contract.
What activities must we complete against certain deadlines?
The short answer is: Preliminary due diligence and standard pre-construction activities as well as securing financing. The activities we're engaged in right now are our both our most important and most expensive to date. We have been working with a project manager and contractors who are developing estimates for store design, renovations, equipment (such as coolers and refrigeration, shelving, etc.) and other expenses so we will have an accurate understanding of the amount of capital we must raise and to clarify the effect in our cash flow projections on our ability to repay the money we borrow.
In order to move through this last phase of feasibility within the timeframe allowed in our real estate contract, we must raise the necessary capital - immediately - to pay for it. Your ownership share is crucial to this project right now. By joining today, you can experience the pride of ownership in this business which will drive our local food system, provide living wage jobs, strengthen the fabric of our small business landscape - all through the sustainable operation of a full-service grocery store featuring natural, organic and local foods in a currently underserved neighborhood.
Can you help us double our current size within 30 days?
Can we get another 675 of you to leave the ranks of avid supporter and join the growing community of Member-Owners who are capitalizing the start-up of Wild Root Market? That may sound like a lot but it's 675 of an estimated 2,500 followers right now (between Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and our newsletter subscriptions - accounting for some overlap of owners there, too.) That will take us just shy of our next goal - our next important membership threshold - of 1,500 member-owners by the time we open our doors.
Imagine yourself walking through the doors of Wild Root Market for the first time on opening day. Imagine yourself with your own friends in a large crowd of happy, excited people celebrating years of hard work and dedication. Don't you want to count yourself among the members of our community who can take special pride - the pride of ownership - knowing that you directly helped to open the doors by joining the co-op?
Event Re-cap: Homegrown and Homemade, Buying into the Local Food Movement
This inspiring event, coordinated by Wild Root Market and held February 11 at the Golden Rondelle, focused on the power of citizen investment in enterprises and initiatives aimed at localizing food systems. The program was sponsored by SC Johnson and attended by over 200 people.
The evening kicked off with introductory comments by Beth Gehred from Slow Money Wisconsin which is a regional chapter of the
Slow Money Alliance. Their mission is to facilitate investment in local food enterprises and sustainable farms in Wisconsin. Not quite a traditional matchmaking service, they bring together interested investors and qualified entrepreneurs interested in starting or expanding businesses that grow, produce and/or distribute local food.
Our first keynote speaker was Tera Johnson, Food and Finance Consultant with the
UW-Extension Division of Entrepreneurship and Economic Development. She spoke eloquently about the power communities have to strengthen a critical aspect of their common welfare by investing in local food-focused small businesses. An entrepreneur herself, Johnson shared how she raised $14 million dollars from investors to start Tera’s Whey, a highly successful manufacturer of organic whey protein in Reedsburg, WI. Her uplifting message: It can be done. Other communities in Wisconsin much smaller than Racine have come together to open food co-ops
and this happens when people place a priority on investing in themselves and their neighbors.
Our second keynote speaker, Bartlett Durand, is one of the founders of Slow Money Wisconsin and also the owner of
Black Earth Meats near Madison. He spoke about the need to become conscious of the power of our investment dollars. By design, most traditional investments (such as mutual funds) result in the pooling of investors’ dollars that are then invested in many different industries, including some that many of us may prefer not to support if we had a choice. Why not re-think this by looking for ways to invest in our own communities? Not only can we see our investments at work but we can benefit from them directly – in this case by supporting local
food initiatives that can improve our health. Win win!
Both Johnson and Bartlett were direct in their comments: Wild Root Market offers a terrific investment opportunity for those who want to experience a new kind of profit by supporting a sustainable local food system.
These compelling speakers were followed by a panel of representatives from several other local organizations who shared ways they are working to enhance food security and food safety, improve nutrition and health, and promote a more sustainable economy here in Racine County:
RelyLocal Racine: Promoting the economic benefits of shopping at locally owned businesses that have a stake in the community and often support programs that benefit the community.
SEED (Sustainable Edible Economic Development): Working to increase and diversify the production and distribution of local, wholesome, agricultural products.
Gateway/HALO Incubator Kitchen: Providing low cost commercial kitchen space to help food entrepreneurs who have great ideas and are expert chefs, but have a modest budget.
Racine Urban Garden Network: Offering assistance in starting community gardens and providing garden plots for community members to grow their own food.
Thanks to all who participated in the program including the speakers, panelists and community members who engaged in the discussion about implementing a Slow Money investment opportunity here in Racine.
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