I hope you are having a wonderful holiday. We wanted to take this time between during the holidays to provide an update on the progress of the East Aurora Co-op. Get your champagne glasses ready because we have a great deal to celebrate as 2014 wraps up and we embark on what is sure to be a very exciting 2015.

Capital Campaign Goal Achieved. We raised $875,000 in investments from our members in just over four months. It was a long and challenging summer as we worked toward that goal, and we have you to thank for coming through and making it happen. Twenty-nine percent of our membership participated in the campaign, which is well above average. Special thanks to our campaign committee: Greg Goggins, Norm Utheg, David Schultz, Robyn Young, Penny Hokansan, Kris Molek, and Mike Benzin, for their perseverance and commitment.

Many Moving Parts. One of the great challenges in this project has been moving ahead with all the other components, while focusing on one very daunting task critical to realizing the rest. While the campaign was just beginning, there was quite a bit going on behind the scenes. For instance, we needed to move forward with the design of the store so that once fully capitalized, we would be ready to go. This involved working with the store designer to create a preliminary fixture plan, hiring our architects to begin construction drawings, and moving through the approval process with the Village Board and Planning Commission.

Full Capitalization. We continue to work on our outside lending. We have received commitment letters from two organizations that lend specifically to cooperatives, but are still awaiting a letter of commitment from our local lender. We expect it within the next week. We do have a gap that we are also working to fill with other options, such as our local Industrial Development Agency and two local foundations. In order to begin demolition and construction, the co-op must be completely capitalized. Please note that the Capital Campaign will continue over the next six months with the offer of preferred shares. Anything we as members can invest, by way of preferred shares purchases, helps to reduce what is needed in outside lending and that is ultimately better for the co-op. Please contact me at 912-0672 for more information on how you can help.

General Manager. Our search committee has made great strides on formulating a plan to hire our general manager.  You may have noticed the advertisement on our website. Our search is nationwide and we have begun to receive inquiries.

Growing Membership. Our membership is growing daily and we are now well past 1030 members. While you don’t have to be a member to shop at the co-op, our members are our foundation for whom the co-op exits and from whom it takes direction. We look forward to working together to bring a store to East Aurora that reflects the needs and desires of our membership as a whole.

Stay Tuned! With all the above and more in motion, we hope to begin demolition in February and open the store in mid-summer. So raise a glass and stay tuned!

Yours in Cooperation,

Sheila Conboy, Project Manager