"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
Click HERE for a member-loan brochure, explaining terms, considerations, and conditions.
Invest in the Co-op!
Now that we’ve secured a site, it is time to turn our attention to raising the capital needed to 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 us, part of the required start-up capital investment can be shared by the entire membership rather than by only 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 3rd cooperative principle. There are 3 primary ways members contribute to a financially healthy food co-op:
1. Becoming a Member-Owner
Click HERE for a membership application.
2. Making an additional investment: Though member loan financing is an essential component of our start-up project, making a member loan is not required to be a member. However, the more member-owners who participate in the member loan campaign (at whatever level they are able), the better the financial situation for the co-op. In addition to a traditional member-loan, Non-Patronage Certificates can also be made.
3. Shopping at the co-op: Looking forward to this! 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.
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 by its members.
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 a grocery store: it’s 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 and welcoming all.
Will you join us?
How Will We Use the Funds?
Funds loaned to the co-op will be used to renovated, stock, and staff the grocery store at 1750 25th Street.
The co-op will borrow from several sources. Lenders include member-owners, non-traditional lenders, and commercial lenders.
Funds will be used for construction, equipment purchases, professional fees, staff wages and benefits as we prepare for opening day.
Preliminary Store Design!
How to Invest?
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 812-343-3588. If you have questions, members from the Board of Directors or our member-loan committee are happy to meet with you.
Member Loan Committee
Jan Lucas Grimm
Success Stories: We're not alone
Co-ops are starting-up all over the country! The financial process to get the doors open is typically the same. Out of the total project cost, 50% comes from the member-owners (through loans and new member equity) and the other 50% comes from commercial lenders and others sources, such as grants.
Check out two co-ops with member-owners stepping up and making it happen in their communities!
East Aurora Food Co-op (New York): http://eastaurorafood.coop/you-did-it/
Sugar Beet Co-op (Oak Park, IL): www.sugarbeetcoop.squarespace.com