Dear Cooperators,

On behalf of the East Aurora Cooperative Market, I would like to wish all of you the happiest of holidays. This time of year means much anticipated relaxation with family and friends. It is also a poignant reminder of how incredibly grateful I am for all the wonderful people I have come to know because they have taken such an avid interest in this project. Your enthusiasm drives the great progress I get to share with you each month.  This month is no different.

While many organizations have begun to wind down for the holidays, activity at the East Aurora Cooperative Market has anything but slowed. In November, we began the first step in a series of events that will help us to verify that our prospective site is a sound one for the East Aurora Cooperative Market, both structurally and financially. We have commissioned a market study on our new potential site that will help us determine sales projections and weigh the characteristics of the site relative to others we have considered. Most importantly, this information will help us to fill in the missing pieces of our pro forma so we can begin to move forward with a strategy to capitalize the co-op. We expect the results of this study by the end of December and, if favorable, we will begin examination of other areas such as environmental considerations. Then, finally, design feasibility work will commence.

While all of this site work is happening, our Events and Marketing committees and our Mini Market are creating and implementing ways to get you to come to exciting co-op events, such as a class on nutrition, over the next few weeks. Who couldn’t use a class on Portion Sizes and Eating Healthy over the Holidays? We will be holding that at our Mini Market on December 21st from 10 am to 1pm. While you’re at the Mini Market, you can pick up a unique teacher or hostess gift, or purchase a gift membership. Or simply stop by to get an update and root us on. Remember, we’re in this together!

Another significant piece that we are working on now is the capitalization of our co-op. Once the above-mentioned steps to determine feasibility have been conducted, and the results look favorable, we will be running a capital campaign. As described many times before, the money to finance the project comes from several sources: the member equity you put forth when you joined, bank loans, cooperative lenders, and capital from member loans and preferred shares. We will be going into more detail about how these two latter opportunities work for members as we move closer to announcing our site. It will be increasingly important for you to read the information that we send out to you to stay as up to date on our progress as possible. As we make decisions going forward, we will rely on you, our member owners, to be informed and responsive.

So, as we get ready to wind down for the year, we can’t help but look forward to the thrilling activity of the year ahead. Admittedly, starting a co-op is a lengthy process. Yet, we have no regrets, just an unyielding drive to keep working toward the next step that will take us that much closer to opening our doors. Thank you for reading this and for being enthusiastic participants in the process.

I’ll drink to that – cheers!

Yours in Cooperation,

Sheila Conboy
Project Manager