It’s August! Where does the time go? Though it’s been a great summer and I’ve had some time to relax, progress with the East Aurora Cooperative Market hasn’t slowed one bit. Under the leadership of Peg Potter, our events and outreach coordinator, the co-op has been front and center in and around town. For example, you may have seen us at the Backyard Bash twice, the East Aurora Sidewalk Sale and the Holland Farmer’s Market during the past month, just to name a few events we participated in. This sort of exposure is a boon to our membership numbers, which continue to grow at a healthy pace.
In addition, our site selection committee continues to work diligently on the one thing that everyone is waiting for (including us): our permanent site! We are actively negotiating two sites, and if and when we come to an agreement on one of them, two things will happen: first, we will hold an event to announce the site; and second, we will kick off our capital campaign.
Cooperative businesses refer to capital campaigns as a member loan campaign to reflect the fact that members are given an opportunity to invest in the co-op. This critical step in our development model is also where a significant portion of funding will come from to begin renovations or construction. Upon launching the campaign, each member-owner will be asked if they are interested in lending the co-op $1,000 or more at an interest rate between 0 percent and 4 percent. It is important to reiterate that the money is a loan, not a donation, and is to be paid back. Historically, member loan campaigns are extremely short, four to six weeks in duration, but intense and is usually quite successful! Our member loan campaign committee, led by Susan Swarts, has begun preparing materials and will be ready to answer all of the questions you may have when contacted.
Our consultants from Cooperative Development Services (CDS) have been guiding us and many other co-ops across the country on the campaign. As a matter of fact, the Lexington Co-op in Buffalo owes much of its success to CDS’s advice. When major grocery stores began adding organic and natural food sections within their stores, Lexington felt a bit of competitive pressure and considered whether or not they could remain viable. Thankfully, under CDS’s direction, not only did Lexington decide to compete, they boldly chose to go for expansion in the form of the Elmwood Avenue location that we all know and love today.
Indeed, we aspire to emulate much about the Lexington Co-op and I feel extremely grateful to have such a strong resource so nearby. There is no doubt that we are stronger together, and we can make the East Aurora Cooperative Market equally successful.
Great things are ahead. Stay optimistic and stay tuned!
Yours in Cooperation,