We are taking a short break from our regularly scheduled capital campaign appeals to give you an update on all fronts. Though it may seem as though the campaign is the only activity that has been going on during the last several weeks, that could not be farther from the truth. We have also been hard at work behind the scenes on several other components of the project.
By now you know that part of our capitalization comes from our members. What you may not know is that all along the way, we have been proactively seeking other types of funding. We have applied for a number of grants but, unfortunately, we have not met the requirements to obtain that type of financing thus far. Our treasurer, Mike Benzin, has also been working with outside lenders including local banks and entities that lend specifically to cooperatives. We have been approved for a USDA loan guarantee, which we hope will improve our chances of acquiring a bank loan. Please bear in mind that in order for us to move forward with a cooperative market in East Aurora, we must be fully capitalized. Furthermore, our success in raising funds from our member-owners will considerably improve our chances of getting bank financing.
On a more exciting front, we have been heavily engaged in the design of our Co-op. We have completed a preliminary plan and equipment list that shows the layout and customer flow. I have already shopped there a million times…in my head. The place is amazing and I think I have seen some of you there as well. Okay, admittedly, that is a stretch, but believe me, it is going to be great!!
Did you know that Lexington Co-op in Buffalo is currently undergoing a small renovation? In the true spirit of cooperation, they have offered to give us some of the equipment they will no longer be using. That will add up to a great savings for us. So far, we will be the proud recipients of all of their grocery shelving and a good number of their bulk bins, too. We hope to acquire some of their larger kitchen appliances in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, we are preparing to have our plans approved by the East Aurora Village Board and Planning Commission. Design work of this nature is complicated and expensive and we are attempting to be conservative in our spending as we move forward with optimism that we will achieve our capitalization goals.
As you can see, these are exciting times for our project, but I think we can all agree that the most thrilling time will be when we open our doors. This will only be possible when we reach our capital goal. For a long time now, you have been asking when the Co-op will open and for a long time, that was in our hands as we scoured the Village for a suitable site. Now, dear members, the answer lies with you. So, will you help capitalize our Co-op?
Sheila Conboy, Project Manager