Total number of non-duplicated responses: 125 (26% of respondents invested and 7% donated during the capital campaign)
How respondents answered questions:
People who want a food co-op and expressed ideas about next steps want a storefront, a place to shop. For certain respondents, any effort that was not an effort for a storefront could not expect significant owner investment.
People would shop at a small storefront with very limited offerings.
People want (and expect) the Co-op to have a viable business right now that grows into something larger and, did not expect a food co-op in Silverton to successfully follow an FCI model of growing membership and then launching a full grocery store from owner capital. These respondents did not expect anyone to invest money in an idea; they would only invest in something that already existed (a business that they patronized) and wanted to grow to something larger.
People want a tangible benefit to their membership, as in a place to shop for local food, more often than once a week, at the farmer's market.
Our Co-op has reached a turning point. Following the 2020 Capital Campaign, the Board of Directors has analyzed campaign results, met with investors, held a meeting for all owners, put out a survey and reviewed survey responses, and met a total of six times over the past six weeks. We have learned through our careful analysis that our prospects are poor to secure the funds needed from our owners this year to open our store. We’ve also learned from those of you who participated in recent discussions and surveys, that the majority of our owners would prefer to postpone the store project, return funds to those who invested, and pursue an interim activity that benefits members of the Co-op.
During our board meeting earlier this week, we made the decision to terminate our securities offering before its scheduled expiration and return funds to lenders. If you signed a loan agreement in 2019 or 2020, your loan investment will be returned to you later this month by mail directly from the escrow agent, Santiam Escrow. Donations raised during the Capital Campaign will be put towards the next phase of the Co-op unless the donor requests a refund. Some donors have already told us they support the continued efforts of the Co-op and want their donation to remain with the Co-op—thank you! If you made a donation to the Capital Campaign between October 1, 2020, and November 23, 2020, and you would like a refund, send an email to email@example.com by March 10, 2021. Refunds will be made by the method your donation was made, card or check, and only your request is received by March 10, 2021.
This was not an easy decision and we share your disappointment. Since 2017, Silverton Food Co-op has been following a development model for startup food co-ops created by Food Co-op Initiative (FCI) to open a $1.6 million community-owned grocery store. We had reached a point in that model last year when it was time to move forward with raising the funds needed to open our store. Our board and volunteers worked tirelessly to reach owners and make that ask. And despite numerous hurdles—wildfires, pandemic, economic and personal loss—our Co-op did raise a substantial amount of money. But it wasn’t anywhere close to our goal.
We have an opportunity now to take a step back to reconsider how we can provide a unique benefit to our owners and the entire community. Being an owner of Silverton Food Co-op has always been about more than just opening a store. It’s always been about providing equitable access to fresh, healthy foods and educational opportunities, supporting local food producers, engaging with local businesses and nonprofits, and working for the sustainable development of our community. And while a storefront may still be in our future down the road, we are a cooperatively owned and controlled organization that has the potential to do so much more.
So, let’s cooperate! We’re going to shake things up a bit, launch some new projects, and take a breath after what has been one wild ride of a year. We are so grateful to be on this journey with such wonderful owners like you. Onward!
Kelly Hilton, Cayla Catino, Marc van Anda, Flora Guiterrez, Becky Gilliam, Micole Olivas-Leyva
Silverton Food Co-op has hit the ground running in 2021, as there is no time to delay discussions and decisions essential to our Co-op’s future. And the Co-op needs all owner participation in these important next steps! Please continue reading for results from our 2020 capital campaign and details for the upcoming owner meeting on January 21st.
The Silverton Food Co-op Board of Directors has carefully evaluated the results from the 2020 capital campaign to raise the funds needed to open our community-owned grocery store. During the campaign, volunteers made hundreds of phone calls, texts, and emails, and reached 40% of the over 600 owners eligible to make a loan with the Co-op. 58 owners have invested a total of $195,000 in owner loans, and an additional 34 owners made gifts totaling $7,340. We are deeply grateful to the owners who participated in the campaign, either by volunteering, investing, or donating - thank you!
While the funds raised in 2020 are significant, we have learned that our prospects are poor to secure $800,000 from our owners in 2021, in accordance with our $1.6 million business plan to open the store. Following this evaluation, the Silverton Food Co-op Board of Directors met with capital campaign owner-investors last week. During that meeting, investors reviewed the results of the capital campaign, discussed current options available to the Co-op, and provided feedback for the next steps. Now, we invite all Silverton Food Co-op to join in on this important discussion.
The board is considering three options: (1) resume the capital campaign this spring, (2) return investments to date and explore other business plans, or (3) close up the business. Either of the first two options will require significant owner participation. Also, the board is open to any other proposals presented by the owners. Should the Co-op collectively decide on the second option, to postpone pursuing the finances needed to open the store, the Co-op would accordingly return funds to all owners who have invested and, upon request, owners who donated during the Fall 2020 Capital Campaign.
Please participate in the discussion at our upcoming virtual owner meeting on January 21, 2021, at 5:30 p.m. Bring your questions and ideas for what types of projects you’d like the Co-op to pursue, and engage in an open discussion with your fellow owners. We look forward to your participation in this survey and at the upcoming owner meeting. Thank you!
We want to express our sincerest thanks to all our owners who have participated in the fall capital campaign, and especially wish to thank all our volunteers who made the campaign possible. Silverton Food Co-op volunteers made hundreds of phone calls, texts and emails and reached 40% of our eligible owners. We completed loan agreements with 57 lenders and deposited $188,000 in the escrow account. An additional 34 owners made gifts totaling $7,340.
The Board of Directors has carefully evaluated this fall's effort to contact the over 600 Co-op owners who are eligible to make a loan. We have learned from this evaluation that we have poor prospects in 2021 to secure $800,000 from our owners, in accordance with our $1.6 million business plan to open the store.
A few years ago, the idea of a community-owned grocery store in Silverton was birthed around a dining room table. Around this table were foodies, farmers, and engaged citizens with a shared dream of creating a place where community members could access healthy, local food every day of the week. To make that dream possible, we have been following the development model for startup food co-ops created by Food Co-op Initiative (FCI) since 2017. In the last 10 years many communities have successfully used the FCI model to open a food co-op store. While the Board believes this development model is sound and may still work for Silverton in the future, it is unlikely to be a feasible model in the near term.
In January, with the input of investors and owners like you, including our business-owners, we will make some important decisions, including whether to continue fundraising during the remainder of the offering period, which ends on September 30, 2021, or terminate the offering before its expiration date. We’ll also ask for your ideas as to whether the Co-op should explore alternatives to the FCI model and other projects and activities that will further our mission to support local farmers and producers and bring fresh, real food to our members year round. Please mark your calendars for the following important dates:
January 7, 2021 at 5:30 p.m. - Virtual discussion with
Silverton Food Co-op investors
January 21, 2021 at 5:30 p.m. - Virtual discussion with
all Silverton Food Co-op owners
We look forward to hearing from you and we welcome your participation in deciding the future of our Silverton Food Co-op. Please watch your inbox for forthcoming invitations to these January meetings!
This has not been an easy year for our community. As one owner-investor put it, “2020 has been a real bear,” but that hasn’t stopped us from moving forward. Our Co-op is as strong and resilient as its owners, and together we launched a capital campaign to raise the funds needed to open our store. In this moment, we know we have to do more than just keep the dream alive, it’s time to make it a reality!
Yesterday marked the end of our 2020 Capital Campaign. Our volunteers finished their last calls and we tallied our numbers. Collectively, we have raised over $200,000 in pledged loans and gifts! Our owners have pledged $192,000 in loans and $8,590 in gifts. And, as of today, we have received $146,000 in loans and $7,140 in gifts. Over the last six weeks, there has been overwhelming commitment and generosity from owners who have volunteered their time to this campaign. From making calls and sending emails, to writing songs and recording videos, it’s never been clearer what a talented and powerful ownership Silverton Food Co-op has. Thanks to our volunteers’ efforts and the financial investments and donations received from our owners, we have reached a new milestone. We are beyond grateful to the owners who have stepped up to invest and donate to the Co-op - thank you!
And yet, there is still a long way to go. We’ve reached 24% of our goal of raising the $850,000 in loans and gifts needed to open our store. And we’re just $8,000 short of the minimum owner loan amount required, $200,000. It is not too late to make your contribution to the Co-op! You can become an owner, make your owner loan or gift a contribution to the Co-op. You can also ask a friend to become an owner or give the gift of ownership for the holidays. Your support is critical to the success of our Co-op!
In the coming weeks, the Board of Directors will be meeting and consulting with owners to evaluate our progress and identify potential next steps for the Co-op. As always, we will be sure to communicate and share openly with our entire membership, and we welcome your questions, suggestions, and ideas for moving forward!
In the meantime, we hope you’ll join us in celebrating our progress and giving thanks. We are so grateful to our owners who have invested, made a donation, and volunteered their time to help in this campaign!
Kelly Hilton, Cayla Catino, Marc van Anda, Flora Guiterrez, Becky Gilliam, Micole Olivas-Leyva
The moment we've all been waiting for: Silverton Food Co-op has launched the Capital Campaign! Your Board of Directors has been working long hours in preparation for this campaign - the campaign that will help raise the funds needed to open our store! The Board also has 100% participation in the Capital Campaign, through investments, contributions & donations of time. And while we will be working diligently over the coming weeks to ensure a strong and effective campaign, we're also finding time to celebrate this milestone. So, here's to all of us, our entire Co-op community, as we get closer to opening the store of our dreams! Cheers!
Don't forget to visit our Capital Campaign website to get all the details and find a way to get involved today!
The past several days our community has come together in the face of deadly fire and smoke. We've braced ourselves and held each other tight through an event more threatening and forceful than most of us have ever seen. Some of you may still be evacuated, some have returned home, and some may have never left. Wherever you are reading this, we hope you are safe, rested and healthy.
We know you've been protecting your families, animals and land, volunteering your time and energy, donating your skills and resources, and helping your friends and neighbors through this unforeseen challenge. Our community has come together, yet again, in a truly inspiring way -- because that's who we are!
Silverton Food Co-op is as strong and resilient as its owners. Together we will open a community-owned grocery store that supports a healthier and more stable climate, with sustainably and locally-grown food. Our Co-op will show up for those more deeply impacted by social, climate and economical injustices, including our communities of color and low-income neighbors. Our Co-op will always support our local farmers, who are the backbone of our local food economy and providers of nourishment. Our Co-op will keep giving back to our community and responding to the most pressing needs and interests at heart.
We are deeply grateful to our first responders, firefighters and volunteers for working tirelessly to protect our precious community. Keep checking on your friends and neighbors. The SFC Board is thinking of you, and sending love and support to you all!
Kelly Hilton, Cayla Catino, Marc van Anda, Flora Guiterrez, Becky Gilliam, Micole Olivas-Leyva
As a Co-op, decisions about leadership are always made by our owners. Every owner has an equal voice and vote. Last week at the annual meeting our owners voted on 3 new Co-op Board Officers and then the board as whole voted in 1 year officer positions. Welcome Cayla Catino the new Vice President and thank you to Kelly Hilton (President), Marc Van Anda (Treasurer) and Flora Gutierrez (Secretary) for another year of Leadership! Great things are on the way for the Silverton Food Co-op! Read more about the Silverton Food Co-op Board of Directors.
The Silverton Food Co-op stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and demands for racial justice. Several of our SFC Board members attended the youth-led peaceful memorial demonstration in Silverton last month, and we are committed to listening and putting in the work.
We will continue to find ways to support the community in moving forward in a more just, inclusive, equitable and loving way.
Black Lives Matter!
Earlier this spring we sent out a survey to all owners, asking for your feedback on Silverton Food Co-op owner engagement, cooperative principles and top priorities in the community. Thank you to the 145 owners who responded, your input is greatly appreciated!
We've compiled the owner survey results and we've shared some of the highlights with our SFC community, here are just a few:
I am interested in investing in the Co-op - where do I start?
A number of our owners indicated they want more information on how to contribute or invest in the owner loan campaign. Our Capital Campaign is up and running! This is the campaign that raises money to open our store. As part of our Capital Campaign to raise the $1.5 million we'll need to open our community-owned grocery store, we will raise up to $800,000 in interest bearing loans from our member-owners. We are seeking loans of $2,000 and up from Co-op member-owners who have already purchased a full share of common stock. You will be hearing more about our Capital Campaign in the upcoming months as we prepare to launch a formal campaign, but you can get started today by visiting our Capital Campaign website!
ARE WE SETTING OUR SIGHTS TOO HIGH?
We heard concern from some of our owners, related to the pandemic or otherwise, that $800K may be too lofty of a goal. In July 2017 G2G Research Group performed a professional market study that analyzed our market area, demographics, and the sales potential of a co-op food store in Silverton. The study advised us that we could support only a small store, one with about 2,500 sq. ft. of sales area. (The average co-op grocery is about 6,500 sq. ft. in sales area, which is typically 60-65% of the total building's area; Life Source in Salem (a natural food store, but not a co-op) has 6,500 sq. ft. in sales area.)
In December 2018, we updated the market study's sales forecasts in anticipation of delivering a letter of intent to rent the 600 N. Water St. property, a location whose size was consistent with the 2017 market analysis. These updated sales forecasts are the basis for our business plan's 10-year financials, the projections for expenses, revenue, and the service of debt. These projections informed the approval of our securities registration for our owner loan offering. These projections call for $1.5 million in start-up capital to build out a site, to hire employees, to purchase equipment, fixtures and product, and to operate with sustainable cash flow in our early years. We intend to raise more than half of our start-up capital from our owners.
Why don’t we just open a smaller store?
We plan to open a small store, compared to what is typical for co-op grocery stores. We are relying on a professional analysis of Silverton's market for a potential co-op food store and the financial recommendations of consultants experienced in start-up food co-ops. Our market study says we have the best chance of success in Silverton if we open a relatively small store, 4,000 total sq. ft. with about 2,500 sq. ft. of sales area. The average co-op grocery store has 6,500 sq. ft. of sales area.
I need more information! What is the Silverton Food Co-Op doing to improve communication with owners and the greater community?
Your Silverton Board of Directors is committed to transparency and consistent communication with our owners! Our Outreach and Marketing Committees are meeting regularly to improve how we get the word out on important updates, and listen to community needs and wants. We heard from the owner survey that most owners get Silverton Food Co-op information from the Co-op newsletter. If you haven't already, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter for monthly updates from your SFC Board and community! And don't forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram!
I want to get more involved! How do I plug in?
The Silverton Food Co-op is gearing up to raise the funds to open our store and that takes 100% participation from all of our owners! That can be in the form of a member loan, monetary donation, or a donation of time. Every hour you volunteer you send a message that says, "I believe in the power of community and cooperation." Together, we can prepare our economy and community for a brighter future. Ready to dive in? Visit our volunteer page for more info!