Why Member Loans?
Now that we have selected our site, it is time to turn our attention to raising the capital needed to remodel, stock and open the store.
Any small business requires significant start up capital from its owners and a food co-op is no different. In the case of a co-op like Wild Root Market, part of the required start-up capital investment can be shared by the entire membership rather than by just a handful of people. This is the beauty and strength of a cooperative enterprise!
Member economic participation is an essential ingredient for a thriving co-op and the third cooperative principle. There are 3 primary ways Members contribute to a financially healthy food co-op:
1. Becoming a Member-Owner: Whether you made a one time payment or installments you are considered a full Member-Owner from the time of your initial payment!
2. Making an additional investment: A Member loan to the co-op represents a different kind of investment for Member-Owners. Though Member loan financing is an essential component of our start-up project, making a Member loan to the co-op is not required to be a Member. However, it is a crucial component of Wild Root Market’s start up funding and the more Member-Owners who participate in the Member loan financing campaign at whatever level they are able, the better the financial situation for the co-op.
3. Shopping at the co-op: This is, in our case, what we're all still looking forward to. Shopping at the co-op contributes to the co-op’s profitability, which provides capital to fund the on-going operations of the co-op. Once the co-op is sufficiently profitable, a portion of the profits can be returned to Members based upon their spending at the co-op. This is a natural incentive to encourage Members' economic participation.
Member loans have become an increasingly important component of food co-op financing over the past 25 years. Established food co-ops have used Member loans to finance expansion or relocation projects while start-ups turn to Member loans as a part of their overall capitalization plan to get the co-op up and running for the first time.
Member loans offer the co-op an attractive form of debt: loans from Member-Owners can provide more flexible repayment terms and lower interest rates than a traditional bank. In addition, a bank will look to the co-op’s ability to raise Member loans as an indication of the strength of Member-Owner support. Member loans are a critical ingredient in the cooperative’s mix of assembled capital and allow us to pursue bank financing. To a financial institution considering a traditional consumer loan to the co-op, Member loans represent commitment and engagement in the co-op by its Members.
While not all Members participate, Member loans are nevertheless a very strong indicator of Member support for the future co-op. Such investment illustrates that the Member-Owners value the co-op’s offerings and are willing to lend significant amounts of money to the co-op. Member loans typically start at $1,000. The co-op has the discretion to set whatever upper limit it feels is appropriate.
Member loan campaigns usually last from 4 - 6 weeks. Although particular terms and options are established by individual co-ops, Member loans are often repaid over a 4 to 10-year period of time, as Member equity and profits slowly flow in to replace the Member loans.
For you, the co-op Member-Owner, a loan to your co-op represents an investment in your local community and an opportunity for a return that cannot be measured in dollars and cents. As an investor, you will experience an increased sense of pride because you can literally watch your investment hard at work in the community. Your co-op is so much more than just a grocery store: it is committed to providing living wage jobs; offering cleaner, healthier food grown closer to home; becoming a hub where community members can shop and gather; providing education to Member-Owners, staff, and the general community.
Here in Racine, which was recently identified as one of the least healthy counties in the state, you can take extra pride in knowing that your investment will not only open the doors of this long-awaited grocery store, it will also help to eradicate a federally designated food desert!
Wild Root Market is in the planning stages of its Member loan campaign and expects to be ready to unveil this unique community investment opportunity later this Spring.
Not a Member-Owner yet? If you are interested in supporting this great community project, please consider joining us now. Click here to make that happen!
Mark Your Calendars For Two Exciting Community Events
With the recent announcement of our site selection in West Racine, we are moving forward by planning and coordinating two dynamic events aimed at organizing the community around the benefits of a healthy local food supply.
Homegrown and Homemade, Buying into the Local Food Movement
Tuesday, February 11, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. at the Golden Rondelle, 1525 Howe Street, Racine
For this event, Wild Root Market facilitated a partnership between SC Johnson, Slow Money Wisconsin and Sustainable Edible Economic Development (SEED)
to present an important and revolutionary message about the power of citizen investment in enterprises and initiatives aimed at localizing the food system. This event is free and open to the public but pre-registration is required. Click here for details about the program, the speakers and how to register.
Changing the Way We Eat
Saturday, March 1, 9:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. at Gateway Technical College, 1101 S. Main St., Racine.
This daylong live TEDx Manhattan Viewing Party will feature dynamic speakers, live performances, videos and films.
The program will originate in Manhattan and be broadcast live to sites around the country. We applied for the privilege of being a host site and partnered with Gateway Technical College to provide facilities for the event.
Speakers with various backgrounds in food and farming will share their insights and expertise. A highlight of the event is the ample time given for attendees to meet each other and look for new synergies and ideas to help bolster the sustainable food movement in their local communities.
This event is free and open to the public but attendance is limited and pre-registration is required. Click here and scroll down for more details about the event and how to register.
For information about the specific speakers, click here.
Many Hands are Stronger Together
The board of directors is grateful to the many volunteers who have helped the co-op take root in our community. Now that we have selected our location, volunteer opportunities will grow as we work towards opening Wild Root Market. One of the key principles guiding co-ops is member participation and this is the perfect time to get involved. Please contact our
Volunteer Coordinator, Margie Michicich, if you are interested in any of the following volunteer opportunities or if you’d like us to add your name to our volunteer list so you can stay informed about our volunteer needs in the future. Thank you!
Farmers Market Volunteer Team Leader(s)
We are looking for one or more people to help coordinate volunteer ambassadors for the Wild Root Market information booth at the downtown Racine Farmers Market this summer. The Team Leader(s) will be responsible for recruiting volunteers to staff our booth, monitoring the online volunteer sign-up program, communicating with volunteers by email and phone, and coordinating the delivery of volunteer kits. Required time commitment is estimated to be about 1-2 hours per week from May through October 2014. Please contact our Volunteer Coordinator for further details.
We need a small group of volunteers to help coordinate hospitality for co-op events. Responsibilities of the Hospitality Team include working with board members to 1) plan potluck or social events for Member-Owners on a quarterly basis and 2) coordinate refreshments for the Wild Root Market Annual Meeting in the Spring. Required time commitment is estimated to be about 2-4 hours per week in the month leading up to the event(s). Please contact our Volunteer Coordinator for further details.
Ambassadors are needed to staff information tables at various events in the community, including the downtown Racine Farmers Market. Ambassadors promote the co-op, distribute brochures, answer questions, and recruit prospective Member-Owners. Volunteer Ambassadors typically are asked to volunteer for 2 to 3 hour shifts and are usually responsible for transporting and managing the volunteer kit (including a table and suitcase containing promotional materials). Training is available to provide volunteers with the information and resources they need to confidently represent the co-op. Please contact our
Volunteer Coordinator for further details.
Novel Noshes Book Club Coordinator(s)
Novel Noshes is a new book club coordinated by Wild Root Market in cooperation with the Racine Public Library. The book club meets approximately every 8 weeks to discuss a food-related book, fiction or non fiction. The Book Club coordinator responsibilities include:
Book club promotions and member recruitment; managing the club calendar and setting recurring discussion dates; coordination of club with Racine Public Library
book selection (we have established a book list to date); facilitate book discussions; organize adjunct activities or field trips as discussed by collective book club group.
The club is established and a process and work flow has been defined. The anticipated time commitment is a minimum of three hours per month but may include additional time as the volunteer shapes the job and the club evolves. For more information, please contact
Corporate Partner Spotlight
Piggly Wiggly Washington Avenue
Ralph Malicki, owner of
Piggly Wiggly Washington Avenue, welcomed representatives from Wild Root Market into his store in November to discuss how he might be able to help our food co-op. At first glance, it may seem that Wild Root Market and Piggly Wiggly Washington Avenue would have a competitive relationship. But with a deeper look, it isn't hard to find common ground for a strong, mutually beneficial relationship. Both Wild Root Market and Piggly Wiggly Washington Avenue share core values rooted firmly in community. Both businesses aim to provide increased access to higher
quality food in Racine and both actively participate in the life of our community. We both adhere to firm principles including integrity, honesty, and commitment to consumers & employees.
Wild Root Market’s recent visit to the Piggy Wiggly Washington Avenue included a tour of the store. We were impressed by the selection of organic and locally grown food. The produce department supplies the largest selection of fresh organic and local food in the area. You will also find fresh organic pasta in the refrigerated section located close to the organic dairy products. The specialty cheese section is very well stocked and largely sourced from cheese makers in Wisconsin.
Piggly Wiggly’s support of local producers illustrates how independently owned grocery stores can serve as economic drivers in the local community. During the tour, Mr. Malicki pointed out several products made by small local producers who got their start in the Gateway Incubator Kitchens at HALO.
It’s important to note that our recent meeting wasn't the first demonstration of support we’ve received from Mr. Malicki. He previously sent his General Manager to one of our public events to connect with us. He also provided food for a collaborative community education project between Wild Root Market and the Girl Scouts of Southeastern Wisconsin last July.
Wild Root Market has been invited to set up a booth on Saturday, February 1st from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. inside of Piggly Wiggly at 5201 Washington Avenue. Stop by and see us. You can do some grocery shopping and join the co-op on site!
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