On May 10th, with great anticipation, we finally announced the site of our cooperative market: 591 Main St., here in East Aurora. Thank you to those who came out to celebrate with us! It was a long, careful search process and we have received overwhelming support for our choice. It is exactly what we described to you when we conveyed our vision to the public for the first time. Our site is walkable, highly visible, with plenty of parking, and, according to our market study, provides enough retail space for our community. To have found a site that meets all of these criteria on our Main St. was a minor miracle. We want to thank you for your patience and support.
The board and I are aware that there has been some concern about the current small businesses in the building. Some have been in that location several years. It is because of this that we have been ultra sensitive to the issue and proactively addressed it each and every time we met with the landlord, starting day one. If the co-op had not been assured that every effort would be made to find reasonable and suitable alternatives for those tenants, we would not have pursued this site.
At our Annual Meeting on May 29th, our landlord, Mark Jaworski, spoke at length about his plans for the current tenants to the satisfaction of everyone in attendance. It is important to know that our Annual Meeting is held for you, our member-owners, so that information about our Co-op can be conveyed, and your questions about what has happened over the last year can be answered.
Now that we have a solid site and the Annual Meeting is over, we are turning all of our attention and efforts toward capitalizing our Co-op and, again, ask for your support in reaching our goal. On June 6th, New York State approved our prospectus, so you will soon be receiving a letter detailing our campaign. Shortly thereafter, someone from our campaign committee will be reaching out to you by phone to ask you to participate. It is important to note that our current lease comes with a financial contingency: if we fall short of our campaign goal, we will be forced to terminate the lease. Our deadline to reach our goal of raising $875,000 from our member-owners, is August 15, 2014. We need your support now, more than ever, to see this project to fruition.
While the campaign is underway, the exciting process of store design is beginning. In a creative group exercise at our Annual Meeting, we solicited ideas about the look and feel of the store. Some excellent concepts came out of that exercise and we will be providing those outcomes in the near future. In early June, we met with the National Cooperative Grocer’s Association, Development Cooperative (NCGA DC), to participate in a similar activity – this time, with our professional store designer. We were able to convey your ideas to them as well as our own. Preliminary store design drawings have already commenced
Cooperatives reflect the communities that they serve, in particular their member-owners. The East Aurora Cooperative Market is currently at one of the most exciting stages in our development. To serve you best, we welcome your input through questions or comments. As always, you may contact us through our website, and via email or phone. If you do have concerns or questions, hearing from you directly allows us to respond in the most effective and positive way possible.
Now, we have only one question for you: Are you ready to capitalize our cooperative?
Let’s do it! Go Co-op!!