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Wild Root Market


Another Big Step: Wild Root Market Hires Project Manager

We are so pleased to announce that we have taken another significant step toward securing our site.  With our due diligence on our three prospective sites as complete as we believe it can be – and with our total number of Member-Owners hovering near 625 – we have retained a project manager, Jeffrey A. Metz, to begin the process of negotiating the terms that will allow us to secure one of the sites we have been analyzing.  Mr. Metz is the owner of RE Enterprises, LLC, a development, investment and real estate services company based in Hartland, Wisconsin.

This officially moves us into Stage Three of the co-op development process: Implementation.

After we have secured a site (with appropriate contingencies), Mr. Metz will act as our project manager during construction of the store.  This will involve seeking bids from general contractors and being the primary “go to” person during construction.  He will also be involved in the design process and will manage the project budget, acting as the Board’s liaison to the general contractor.  Once we are ready to begin construction, things will move quickly and we will need someone who can manage the project on a day-to-day basis.  Hiring a person for this role is also a recognized best practice for new start-up food co-ops.

Mr. Metz comes to us with the highest possible recommendation from Outpost Natural Foods in Milwaukee which has used his services for several of their stores. Besides Outpost’s stores, he has been involved in the development of a number of PicknSave and Sentry grocery stores, as well as Walgreens and many other retail businesses.  Altogether, he has over thirty years of experience in real estate development.  While he was not our only choice for this role, Mr. Metz’s significant grocery store development experience – and his glowing recommendation from our friends at Outpost -- made him our top candidate.

So what happens next?

The back-and-forth process of negotiations for site control may take a few months.  Again, our goal is to achieve the most favorable terms that will enable us to establish a viable business for decades to come.  When we have a contract in place, we will finally be able to announce Wild Root Market’s future location!

After securing the site, the next big step will be capitalizing the business which involves securing traditional financing and raising the funds to build the store.  In an independently owned business, the owners provide significant capital for the start-up and the same is true for co-ops.   In co-ops, however, there is more than one owner to look to for the investment into the business.   It is common practice for all start-up co-ops to raise approximately half of the necessary start-up capital through a vehicle referred to in the industry as “owner loans” (or “member loans”).   (Details about how a typical owner loan campaign works will be discussed in one of our upcoming newsletters.)

In addition to those loans, we will also be pursuing community funding as well as traditional financing and various government loans and grants.  Altogether, we will need to raise approximately $3.5 million within three to six months of achieving site control to keep the project moving forward on schedule.  

What else do we need?

In a nutshell – more Member-Owners!  Our financial pro forma calls for a minimum of 1500 Member-Owners by the time the store opens.  Anyone who joins before that time will be forever distinguished as a Pioneering Owner.  We’re proud and honored by each of the nearly 625 members who have already endorsed our project.  Because you have been following our progress, we’d like to extend another invitation for you to do the same.

Wild Root Market stands to be so much more than a grocery store.  With an express commitment to its community, Wild Root Market will not only improve the quality of lives for all of our neighbors, it will increase access to healthy, cleaner, local food seven days a week; it will play a role in the eradication of one of Racine’s food deserts; it will strengthen the retail fabric, making Racine’s economy more resistant to external conditions. 

Wild Root Market is truly a locally-grown business that will remain locally-owned forever.  Don’t you want to make sure you can count yourself among those who made it happen?

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Do you have someone on your Christmas list who loves healthy food?

It is that time of year again. Please consider gifting a share of Wild Root Market Cooperative to the people in your life who are interested in being a part of something good.   Whether you're interested in supporting a sustainable food system in Southeastern Wisconsin... or buying organic food for your family... or increasing the number of independently owned businesses in our community... or improving access to fresh, healthy and affordable food in one of Racine's food deserts, this is the gift that truly keeps on giving.  To learn more about how easy it is to give the gift of a Wild Root Market share, please click here.

Board Member Spotlight -- Erik Hokanson

Erik Hokanson, Vice President

The Wild Root Market Board of directors comprises a diverse group of individuals representing a broad spectrum of business, financial, and organizational experience. Every member of the board is working mindfully and diligently to establish a food co-op which reflects the spirit of Racine. In this section, we will briefly introduce you to each member of your Board.

This month we are introducing Erik Hokanson, Vice President and Chair of the Finance committee.  As a former CPA with a 15 year career in the finance and accounting departments of small, mid-cap and fortune 200 companies, Erik brings broad experience to the Market.  Since joining the Board in 2012, Erik has been primarily responsible for analyzing the financial profiles of the various sites we have been considering and presenting the feasibility analysis of each site to the Board.

Erik is currently the Accounting Manager at Johnson Outdoors in Racine, where he has worked since 2007.  He earned his degree in accounting from Michigan State University.

In his free time, Erik enjoys running, bicycling, hiking/snowshoeing, cooking and playing guitar.  Erik developed an interest in healthy food while training for races and is eager to have a local source for fresh organic food.

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