Sandy Sterling

published Member Loan Pledges 2012-04-21 13:40:20 -0400

Member Loan Pledges

GOAL: $500,000.00

published Membership Form 2012-04-21 12:28:06 -0400

Membership Form

24 donors

To become a member of the Columbus Cooperative Grocery & Market, complete the form below. Once you've submitted your application you'll be redirected to PayPal to pay your one-time membership fee of $90.

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Thank you for your support! And don't forget to tell others that you can submit your application and pay online via PayPal!

published What's a Coop? in Why join the co-op? 2012-04-21 11:51:29 -0400

What's a Coop?

Co-ops (cooperatives) are member-owned and member-governed businesses that operate for the benefit of their members according to common principles agreed upon by the international cooperative community. In coops, members pool resources to bring about economic results that are unobtainable by one person alone.

Most grocery store cooperatives are consumer cooperatives, which means that they are owned by the people who shop at the stores. Members exercise their ownership by shopping in the store and voting in elections. The members elect a board of directors to hire, guide ,and evaluate the general manager who runs day to day operations.

While traveling down the aisles of your favorite grocery store, you most likely fill it with products from many cooperatives – Sunkist citrus, Blue Diamond Almonds, American Crystal Sugar, Riceland Rice, Cabot Cheese, Land O' Lakes products, and Welch's grape juice. From food, to housing, to childcare, to electricity, to credit unions, co-ops touch our lives every day. Take a look around you to see how many times your purchases benefit a cooperative.

Facts about Cooperatives

Click on the link above for a presentation given at the Indiana Cooperative Development Center Summit. 

Seven Cooperative Principles

1. Voluntary and Open Membership

2. Democratic Member Control

3. Member Economic ParticipationIMG_0652.jpg

4. Autonomy and Independence

5. Education, Training, & Information

6. Cooperative Among Cooperatives

7. Concern for Community

Co-ops by the Number

In the United States, there are more than 29,000 cooperatives with 120,000,000 memners. 

Cooperatives in the United States generate 2,000,000 jobs and make a substantial contribution to the economy of the United States with annual sales of $652,000,000,000 and assets of $3,000,000,000,000. 

Cooperatives are a major economic force in developed countries and a powerful business model in developing countries, employing approximately 100,000,000 people.  

There are millions of cooperatives, which are owned and governed by more than 1,000,000,000 members, operating in every nation of the world.  

The economic activity of the largest 300 cooperatives in the world is equal to that of the 10th largest national economy.  

Provided by the National Cooperative Business Association ---


published Invest 2012-04-21 11:13:06 -0400


"We are excited to support the Columbus Cooperative Grocery and Market with a member loan.  A food co-op has proved to promote health, well-being, and a community focus which are all great assets for Columbus!"  Steve and Cindy Chapman, Co-op Member-Owners

“I loaned to the Co-op because it will benefit my family and the community by increasing the availability of healthy, locally-grown, environmentally friendly food options.”  Steve, Co-op Member-Owner

"We loaned money to the Co-op because we wanted to support a centrally located community owned grocery store. We look forward to having an alternative source of locally grown and healthy food choices."  Mary and Mike Johnston, Co-op Member-Owners


Invest in the Co-op

Who Can Participate?
CCGM offers all current members who reside in the state of Indiana the opportunity to participate financially in this project. Interested members should contact us to request a disclosure statement describing the program and risks in greater detail.

Member-owner contributions help the cooperative leverage financing from conventional lenders while reducing our outside debt.

How Will We Use the Funds?
Funds loaned to the co-op will be used to develop and build a downtown grocery store.
The co-op will borrow from several sources. Lenders include member-owners, Bloomingfoods, and commercial lenders.
Funds will be used for construction, equipment purchases, professional fees, staff wages and benefits as we prepare for opening day.

Loan Terms, Considerations, and Conditions

Loan Terms
Cooperatives, because of their structure, have a unique ability to raise loan funds directly from member-owners and position the organization for success.
CCGM has a goal of raising $500,000 in funding from members. Each member will choose the specific provisions of their loan to the co-op and will be issued a promissory note with a principal amount equal to the loan.

Promissory notes will contain the following details:
- Member Loans will have a minimum amount of $1,000 with the goal of an average loan of approximately $5,000.
- Interest on the loans will be from 0, 1, 2, 3, or 4%. Lenders making loans of $10,000 or higher may choose 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, or 4.5% interest.
- Interest rates, once negotiated, will remain fixed for the length of the note.
- Loans will mature no sooner than four years and no later than ten years.
- Interest will be applied annually and will be paid, along with the principal, when the loans become due.
- Principal amount, interest rate, and maturity date will be negotiated and mutually agreed upon by each member and CCGM.

Loan Considerations
Each interested member-owner will choose specific terms for their loan with a designated CCGM representative.
CCGM will track financial performance carefully. Board, management, and staff will regularly review statements, track progress, and respond to trends.
Interest expressed by our membership, professionally prepared market studies, and extensive financial models all indicate that a downtown grocery store will contribute to the long term financial health of the cooperative, strengthening the organization and allowing us to better serve our membership.
Our projections show that we can generate sufficient earning to pay principal and interest on member loans. There is, however, the possibility of unforeseen complications and events that are beyond the control of management and the Board of Directors.
The loans are unsecured, which means they are not backed by any property pledged as collateral. They are subordinated loans. In the event that we experience cash flow problems, we are obligated to repay our loans to other lending institutions before repaying member loans.

Loan Conditions
The promissory notes described here are offered at face value and are not transferrable. No market for these notes exists and none will develop. Members of the cooperative who currently reside in Indiana and are at least 21 years of age are eligible.

Click here for a presentation given at the Indiana Cooperative Development Center Summit. "Doing Business as a Cooperative -A Legal Perspective".

Timeline for Opening:

STAGE 1 – Organizational Stage


April 2009 First organizational meeting

August 2010 Board of Directors, Public Meeting, Initial Survey

September 2010 Incorporate, Launch membership campaign

Jan 2011 Committees formed

April 2011 Membership threshold of 300 members reached


STAGE 2 – Feasibility & Planning


April 2011 Initial market feasibility complete

May 2011 First draft of financial pro-forma complete
August 2011 LOI sent for 6th Street site

October 2011 Membership threshold of 500 owners reached

November 2011 Initial Member Loan Campaign

May 2012 Negotiations end for 6th St due to parking, lease security
June 2012 Begin site search for downtown location

December 2012 Send 1st LOI for downtown site

February 2013 Send second LOI for downtown site
April 2013 Updated market feasibility study / pro-forma

May 2013 Send proposals for two downtown sites


STAGE 3 – Implementation

STAGE 3a – Preconstruction

Site is secured with contingencies

Owner loan campaign is launched

All loans collected

Membership threshold of 1050 owners reached

General Manager hired

STAGE 3b – Construction/Renovations

Any additional financing secured

Construction begins

Membership threshold of 1500 owners reached

STAGE 3c – Completion



published Home 2012-04-21 11:09:49 -0400

What's happening? 

  • Columbus Food Co-op Site Announcement!! Thanks to all the member-owners who attended the Annual Meeting on 11/21 at City Hall! 
  • We have a site! But we still can't open the doors without more members and capital. If you haven't joined, please become a member-owner for a one-time share of $90. 
  • Members, you have until the end of the month to vote for the 3 open board seats. Thanks to all who voted at the Annual Meeting!

About Columbus Food Co-op

We are a start-up working to bring a food cooperative to Columbus, Indiana! 
Mission: The Columbus Food Co-op will serve and strengthen the community by providing wholesome foods and products while practicing and encouraging sustainability.

Happy 40th, Common Ground! 

Want to know what Columbus Food Co-op is going to do for you and our community? Please view this short film and see what a co-op's relationship with local growers, employees, customers, and the community looks like. (spoiler alert: it's pretty great!)

5th Annual Co-op Street Fair

Thanks to all the vendors and everyone who attended the 5th Annual Co-op Street Fair! Despite the chill and wind, it was loads of fun! Check out the photos here

The Rise of the Grocery Co-op

Check out this article from CNNMoney on Park Slope Food Co-op in New York.  Co-ops are popping up everywhere and here’s why!   

Choose a Co-op 

Watch this video to learn how joining the Co-op will make a difference in our community. 


published Why join the co-op? 2012-04-21 11:04:41 -0400


The Columbus Food Co-op is modeled on Bloomingfoods in most ways including its membership program. For a one-time $90 member-share, you help create this wonderful cooperative grocery in Columbus, Indiana! Join the effort to connect our community and surrounding ones with healthy choices, locally grown produce, and natural and organic products unavailable in most other groceries in Columbus.

Recognizing that $90 is not necessarily readily available for many of us at one time, we have arranged for members to make the payments in three installments. The time limit for payments is 6 months. We look forward to assisting anyone who would like to make an arrangement. You may simply indicate this on your membership application.

The cooperative is a not-for-profit that will promote community support in a way that no other grocery store or market does! Examples include: support for the arts, local not-for-profits, healthy communities agenda, education about nutrition and health choices, potential cooking classes using seasonal produce and locally grown produce and meats, support of local growers, vendors and suppliers.

Print Member Application Here


Why Join Now?

Every successful co-op starts with committed member/owners. Your membership will empower us to secure our business plan with local financial institutions and investors and with making a site location commitment. We currently have 700 member-owners! ISphoto.jpg

  • What are Member/Owner Benefits?
  • Member Discount Days
  • Member Appreciation Days
  • Community Partner Discounts
  • Pre-Order Discounts
  • Possible Community Grants
  • Monthly Natural Foods Newsletter
  • Patronage Refund
  • Coop Governance

Terms and Conditions of Membership

  • I agree that only persons living in my household will use this membership.
  • I certify that I am at least 18 years of age.
  • I understand that the “Legal Member of Record” is the person to whom all official co-op mailings are addressed, who is the official voting member in all co-op elections, and who receives any and all monies potentially disbursed, including patronage rebates and a refund of equity.
  • I understand that full rights of membership are granted upon full payment. Payment is to be completed within one year of the date below. If payment is not complete by then, all monies paid toward the purchase may be refunded, minus a $25 service charge.
  • If I do not make a purchase for three or more years, and if I do not request a refund of my membership equity, and if I do not provide the cooperative with my current address for three consecutive years, my membership may be canceled and my membership equity donated to Columbus Food Co-op (CFC).
  • I understand that this application for membership is subject to the approval of the Board of Directors of the CFC.

Bylaws of the Columbus Cooperative Market

Support from the West Coast

The following is a letter that one of members, from Eugene, Oregon, wrote to her friends to encourage them to support our initative here in Columbus.  Several of Lucy's friends responded and put their money together to purchase a "Friends of the Indiana Farm" membership.  Thanks to Lucy and friends for encouragment from across the country! 

Dear friends,
     Most of you are aware of my efforts towards supporting nature at my farm in Indiana.  Eventually I would hope organic and sustainable farming could come to this part of our Earth including my little farm.  Some of you have expressed the wish to help me in this project.  I thank you for your offer, and wonder if others are interested.
    Many initiatives are needed to support sustainable farming and preservation of nature in this particular place:  public awareness of its importance, local markets for organic produce, local organic feed for animals, and local organic soil amendments.  We are so accustomed to the markets and information available to us on the West Coast that we may not realize the need in other places.
    At this point I feel that my farm/nature/heartland efforts can best be supported by reaching out to an initiative for a Co-op in the nearby town of Columbus.  The brave souls in this initiative are bringing public awareness of the harm caused by industrial farming and of alternatives to industrial farming.  They are establishing a local organic market in Columbus which will be an outlet for organic farmers, and provide good food to local people.
    GMO crops, residual herbicides, chemical fertilizers are the norm here.  At present I am aware of only 2 organic efforts in 4 counties.  I’ve attached a recent newsletter from the Co-op.  You could contribute to them directly (membership is $90,) or I could combine several small contributions into a group membership from the West Coast/ North West.  I love the idea of the West Coasters / North Westerners supporting brothers and sisters working for the renewal of the Heartland.
    Please let me know if this idea sparks your interest too.