New Site Chosen for Downtown Co-op!

Dear Member-Owners of the Columbus Food Co-op,

Great news is worth the wait! As you may be aware, the board and members of our finance committee have been working tirelessly for the past six months with the goal of securing a fabulous site for our food co-op.  

We were in negotiations with Cummins for a site at 315 6th Street, which had many wonderful qualities – such as the location and proximity to Viewpoint Books.  That building would continue to be owned by Cummins Inc.  We would pay for and do all the renovation and pay a modest rent for its use.  However, as you know, parking in downtown continues to be a hot topic and the site could not offer adequate parking for our members.  With the current and expected future growth of the downtown area, we were concerned about constraints it would put on the Co-op’s future.  In light of our most recent market study, and together with our consultants, the board decided that this would not be a good long term choice for the Co-op.  Our relationship with Cummins remains strong and we look forward to future collaboration with them as we work toward a store that will enrich the quality of life for residents of Columbus and our region. 

The board then began to evaluate the original location where our first market study was done in the spring of 2009.  As a result, at the June 13 board meeting, the board voted to purchase property and build at 950 Jackson Street.  We will own this building and are planning sufficient parking on site.  We will have green space, which will allow us the opportunity for various outdoor involvements. The opportunity to own our facility will also provide a more secured investment and the possibility for future growth and expansion.  These favorable aspects of the Jackson Street location will 1) better serve our mission and vision of providing wholesome products to the community while 2) contributing to a more financially sustainable long term plan.

Our attorney, Jeremy Fetty of Parr Law, who specializes in cooperative law, is guiding us in this effort to purchase and build.  Board President Carla Barrett and Vice President Kevin McCracken are representing the co-op in all purchase agreements with Jackson Place.  

Former Board President Michael Greven is a managing partner of the Jackson Street property.  Both Michael and his wife, Liz, stepped down from the board prior to this decision, in order to avoid any conflict of interest.  Michael and his family are relocating to Kenya in August and will be gone for over a year.  

These are exciting times in Columbus. The City Center is extending both north and south, with new residents, new jobs, and a growing vibrant nightlife. The Jackson Street Co-op location will accommodate all customers, whether on foot, bicycle, or car. Beautiful green space around our building will add to the wholesomeness of the experience.  

A key factor in the decision to purchase and build a new store is sound member investment. As members of the co-op, you have invested through your membership, a loan, or both. We are pleased to say that we expect to build a store at the Jackson Street location which will be large enough to meet your needs in the coming years—walking distance to downtown, with green space, room for full service grocery, and plenty of parking. We will continue to update you throughout the next phase of purchase, design, and building.

SaraBeth Drybread, Community Outreach Coordinator

Carla Barrett, Kevin McCracken, Laura Nading, Natalie Colbert, Sarah Grey, Max Lemley 

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