Future Direction Update Page

Resource Summary


- View the Progress Meeting Slides 8-9-18

- Take the Online Survey

- Download the Survey


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The Columbus Food Co-op Board of Directors met in a special meeting on Monday, September 17, 2018, to review the results of a survey of Co-op owners and make a decision on the future direction of the Co-op.


Throughout August and early September, the Board had conducted a series of open meetings to discuss the results of the recent capital campaign, the current financial status of the Co-op and the options for going forward.  All Co-op owners were invited to attend. 


Based on our current financial situation, the Board had identified two options:


1.  Move forward to open a smaller, lower cost store.

2.  Go out of business.


All Co-op owners were invited to participate in a survey to provide their input on these options.  Owners were also asked to indicate a level of financial commitment they could make toward a new store.  Other questions on the survey asked about owners' willingness to provide volunteer labor and which of the seven Co-op principles was most meaningful to them.  The full survey can be seen at www.columbusmarket.coop/futuredirection .


Jon Bachmeyer presented a summary of the survey results.  An abbreviated version of the results is enclosed below.  The full report will be posted on the web site later this week. (See Link Above)


289 surveys were completed, representing approximately 25% of all Co-op owners.

186 respondents (67%) indicated a preference for the smaller / cheaper store.

93 respondents (33%) indicated a preference for going out of business.

67 respondents (23%) offered a total of $65,340 in financial commitment. 

32 respondents (11%) indicated they were unsure about what, if any, financial contribution they could make.

97 respondents (33%) said they would not make a financial commitment.


The Board discussed the financial estimates for the smaller store. 


Revenue for a 3,000 square foot store was estimated at $1.2M to $1.6M in the first year of operation.  We estimated that the store would operate at a loss for several years.      


Startup costs were estimated to be approximately $585,000.  Startup funds were estimated at approximately $220,000 cash, current pledges and other funds.  This left a shortfall of about $365,000.  The Board had previously decided that another capital campaign would not be successful.  Several other options for funding were discussed, but none appeared sufficient to cover the shortfall.


After lengthy discussion, the Board voted 5 - 4 to close down the Co-op.  Work will now begin to seek the appropriate legal guidance on how to proceed.


As additional information comes available, it will be published on the Co-op web site, the Co-op Facebook page and via email.


The Board wishes to thank all the owners who participated in the survey and attended the meetings. 


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To all Owner/Members of the Columbus Food Co-op:

We recently concluded our Capital Campaign, which aimed to raise $750,000. When combined with a
substantial contribution from our landlord, this would have given us 50% of the $2.1M needed to build
out and open our store at 1580 Central Avenue in Columbus. With these funds in hand, we would have
been able to attract the other 50% in commercial loans.

Unfortunately, the campaign fell far short of our goal. Combined collections and pledges totaled
approximately $210,000. This result is disappointing, given the energy and efforts of dozens of
volunteers and the monetary contributions of nearly 80 of our owners.

After accounting for campaign and other expenses, the Co-op currently has about $100,000 in cash – far
less than is needed to move forward with our current plan.

To view the slides from the Progress Meeting 8-9-18 about our financial background, CLICK HERE. 

The Board of Directors has considered our options and identified two possible paths forward:
1. Go out of business.
2. Open a smaller, less expensive store.
We must decide which path to take by September 15 – the deadline for opting out of the lease on our
store site.

**update 9/4: we've been granted an extension by the landlord. Our decision meeting is September 17th. **

Because this decision is so significant for the future of the Co-op, the Board wants to ensure that we
have adequately informed our owners about these options, that we have answered your questions and
listened to your opinions. We are spending several weeks soliciting your input.

First, we are holding open meetings to present additional details on the current situation, describe the
options for going forward, and answer questions. We have held two such meetings already and will
hold two more on August 23 and August 30. (Additional details below.)

**update 9/4: a final meeting has been added Tuesday 9/11 at 6pm at the Co-op**

Second, we are conducting a survey of owners on the two options. Click here to download the survey. You can mail or email your answers back in. Each owner household is being asked to indicate their preference for one of the two options. Those choosing the smaller store option will also be asked to tell us their level of financial support for the project.

The Board will review the results of the survey at its meeting on September 4, 2018. We will consider
the level of financial support available and will make a decision on which path we take. That decision
will be published on September 5th.

**update 9/4: a decision will be made at our 9/17 board meeting, and announced 9/18**

To ensure that every owner has a chance to review the details, we will be publishing all of the materials
covered in the meetings and a copy of the survey here.

Additional updates will be posted here as they become available. An online version of the survey will be available in the next few days. All future communication about this decision process will be published here, with notices delivered to you via email.

I strongly encourage you to attend one of the meetings and to complete the survey.

Thank you for all you do to support the mission of the Columbus Food Co-op.

In cooperation,

William M. (Mike) Johnston
Board President
Columbus Cooperative Grocery & Market, Inc.
DBA Columbus Food Co-op


Public Meetings:
- Thursday, August 23, August 30, Tuesday September 11th
- 6:00 – 7:30pm
- 1580 Central Avenue, Columbus (the Co-op store site)
- Seating is limited. Please bring your own chair.
- All are welcome to attend. Due to the nature of these meetings, we will not be providing childcare.

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