550 And Counting...
On April 22, the Board of Directors held its Annual Business Meeting for Member-Owners at First Presbyterian Church. Over 115 folks were in attendance that evening, including 84 Member-Owners, and we're so grateful for your interest--it's YOUR co-op, after all! Thanks to Pastor Ben Johnston-Krase for allowing us the use of their beautiful space and to all of our amazing volunteers who were there to keep everything running smoothly.
In January of this year, we celebrated crossing the 500 Member-Owner mark. Here we are just a few short months later and we're over 550! That means we're only 125 new Member-Owners away from being positioned appropriately to take the next big step: beginning negotiations on a site. In addition to a sufficient number of Member-Owners, however, other numbers also have to be "right"; our Finance Committee is working diligently on our 10-year financial proforma which will inform a number of decisions related to our future site.
As Finance Chair Erik Hokansen stated, once we have site control - which comes after we negotiate and then sign a contract - the real fun of piecing the financing together begins. Just like any other business, Member-Owners play a critical role in the necessary capitalization of the business. In a co-op start-up, over 50% of the project cost will be derived through Member-Owner shares (<10%) and Member-Owner loans (>40%). A loan to the co-op is a non-secured interest-earning investment for the Member-Owner and, once we've gained site control and are ready to move forward, every Member-Owner will be invited to participate. Imagine the sense of pride you will have in literally - yes, literally - watching your investment taking shape day by day and positively impacting our community - all while earning interest. That is a benefit that is certainly not
available to investors on Wall Street.
As we've previously mentioned, Owner Loans are the way in which start-up food co-ops are able to quickly raise a significant amount of capital for the project. This action also demonstrates to traditional lenders (i.e., banks) a level of seriousness and community support that bodes well in efforts to secure additional financing from them. Simply stated, it's how co-ops are financed.
The $200 investment (i.e., "Member-Owner shares") we each made to become a voting Member-Owner is the seed capital which allows us to consult with co-op experts, build awareness around and promote the co-op and hire a General Manager. The Member-Owner loans will help us to acquire, build out and create the physical store itself.
Following the business meeting, sustainable, organic farming expert Mark Kastel from the Cornucopia Institute
spoke to Member-Owners and guests about the importance, to our health and our community's economic vitality, of choosing real food. We invited him to speak as part of our educational outreach efforts and appreciated his insights, expertise and opinions. We hope to be able to invite more such experts to future events.
The mission of Wild Root Market is deeply rooted (pun intended) in our insistence on providing a public, community hub where good, fresh food can be obtained by all. Cooperatives are voluntary organizations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without regard to gender, social, racial, political or religious affiliation. We want everyone to enjoy the co-op and we want everyone to participate in bringing it to fruition!
So what are you willing to do today to encourage your friends, family and neighbors to join this effort?
Stay tuned and, more importantly, stay plugged in.
Let's do this!
On behalf of the entire Board with great appreciation,
Alida Harper Trocke
Business Partner Spotlight: Mt. Pleasant Chiropractic
A huge thanks to Mt. Pleasant Chiropractic for their upcoming efforts to promote Wild Root Market.
On Saturday, July 8 they are hosting a Rummage Sale at the Kinzie Center parking lot, 829 S. Green Bay Rd. from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm. Participants can reserve a table for $20 which will be donated to Wild Root Market. There will also be a bounce house for kids and an on-site food vendor. For more details, or to reserve your table, contact Candice Anzalone at the clinic office, (262) 633-6325.
And on June 11, our next Food Co-op 101 event will be hosted by Mt. Pleasant Chiropractic, 829 S. Green Bay Rd., Suite 101, at 6:00 pm. These informative events are great for prospective owners who want to learn more about what a co-op is and how Wild Root Market will benefit the Racine community. If you have friends who are "on the fence," please encourage them to attend -- Mt. Pleasant Chiropractic is generously raffling off an Ownership Share. And don't forget, current Member-Owners are always welcome too!
Efforts like these are what help us get the word out and reach more people who haven't yet heard about us. We are enormously grateful to Mt. Pleasant Chiropractic and all our other Business and Community partners! Let's Do This!
Back to top