The Board met for our regular meeting on January 5th and then again for a work session on January 19th.
At our regular meeting on the 5th we reviewed progress of outstanding action items, reviewed our project plan and annual board calendar and most exciting of all discussed a possible location! We are having conversations with the current owner and are weighing our options and this opportunity.
At the work session on the 19th we integrated feedback around our mission, vision and core values and we are excited to gather feedback around these from our owners at the owner meeting on February 24th. (These are still in draft form and have not been approved). Let us know what you think in the comments below!
Mission: Working together, we strengthen our local food system to be resilient, just, and healthy for the greater Silverton community.
Vision: To open a retail grocery store in Silverton by 2023.
Board Purpose: To provide leadership for the Silverton Food Co-Op guided by our mission and core values.
Over the past couple of months, the board has revised our Mission/Vision/Values and we have sent our draft out to previous board members to gather their feedback. We plan to gather feedback from owners at a meeting early in 2022.
At our December meeting, Christine Moses from Buffalo Cloud Consulting joined us to explore a conversation around food equity and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Silverton Food Co-Op seeks to be a just and equitable organization in our community food system and we are exploring a partnership with Christine around facilitated conversations around Food equity in our community. Stay tuned for more information!
The October meeting was the second meeting with our newly elected Co-Op board members. The meeting consisted of general business such as voting on check signers, planning the yearly inventory tracking, and discussing events for 2022. We have also been refining our processes and a job description for a Member Coordinator and Bookkeeper was reviewed. Co-Op Owner, Michael P. gave a presentation about grant opportunities.
Our President, Cayla Catino, attended two half day training from Food Co-Op Initiatives and the California Center for Cooperative Development learning about Board alignment with mission, vision, values and networking with other Startup Food Cooperatives on the west coast.
A Board retreat was held on October 30th with the intention to re-evaluate our mission, vision values and design a project plan roadmap.
Screenshot of the Virtual "Deep Dive West" Startup Co-Op training with Food Co-Op International (FCI) and the California Center for Cooperative Development. Cayla Catino, Silverton food Co-Op Board President is on the top row second for the left.
The Board of Directors met on September 8th and approved officer positions for 2021-2022:
Cayla Catino - President
Brent Stuntzner - Vice President
Kevin Mowrey - Treasurer
Becky Gilliam - Secretary
We’re excited to get to work! Learn more about your Co-op Directors at our website: https://www.silvertonfood.coop/board-of-directors.html
Did you know that all board meetings are open to Co-op owners? Join us for our upcoming meeting on Thursday, October 7th at 5 p.m. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a meeting link and/or to request copies of past meeting minutes.
On August 29, 2021, we gathered at Geercrest Farm for our 2021 Owner Annual Meeting. We were so glad to be meeting in person at the farm this year! A huge thank you to Geercrest for hosting us on a warm and sunny afternoon. And many thanks to the local businesses who contributed to our event: Silver Falls Brewery, Franchere Wine Co., and Wicked Goodness.
Approximately 35 Co-op owners attended this year. We enjoyed complimentary wine, beer, corn puffs, and live music from Matthew Nelson Price! We also talked about Co-op business, including an overview of our Annual Report, a Capital Campaign debrief, ideas for moving ahead, and Reimagining Our Co-op together!
We appreciated our volunteers and outgoing Co-op Directors, Kelly Hilton, Marc van Anda, and Flora Gutierrez. We are so grateful for your years of service on the Board, and for sharing your vision with our ownership and greater community. We'll miss you on the Board! Here's a fun picture we snapped of our 2020-2021 Board of Directors:
Owners also voted (in-person and virtually) to approve four new board members! We are so thrilled to welcome Beth Myers-Shenai, Brent Stuntzner, Karyssa Dow, and Kevin Mowrey as our newest Co-op Directors. Beth, Brent, Karyssa, and Kevin will join Becky Gilliam and Cayla Catino on our Board of Directors.
Learn more at our Board of Directors page and join us for our upcoming Board meeting at Gear Up on September 8th at 5 p.m. All owners are welcome at board meetings. Please email email@example.com for more info!
Thanks so much to everyone who came out for the Annual Meeting. We look forward to the year ahead!
Happy spring! Whether you’re strolling to the local farmers market, reconnecting with family, or digging in the garden, we hope this season is bringing you joy and healing. It certainly is an exciting time for our community as we begin to reimagine a new reality of connectedness.
Right now, we’re also in a position to reimagine our Co-op. Following our capital campaign of 2020 and a year filled with trials and challenges for our entire community, our Co-op has taken some time to reflect on what a future path could look like. A dedicated group of volunteers is leading our Exploratory Team to examine what options are available to our Co-op. We’re considering mid-week local food purchase options, developing a local food inventory map on our website, and conducting an assessment of farmer needs and owner wishlists. And we need more volunteers to support these efforts!
One critical area where the Co-op needs more support is on the Board of Directors. By August we will need to fill seven board positions to continue moving our Co-op forward. This past year has been taxing on everyone, and the Board of Directors has faced challenges of our own. Many of us are balancing family, work, loss, play, and Co-op all at once. As we remain dedicated to continuing to support the future of our Co-op, we urgently need more owners to join our efforts to help reimagine our Co-op together.
We also know that many people in our community are looking for ways to leap back into our community, re-engage, and make a difference. One way to get involved is to join the Co-op’s Board of Directors. If you have ideas about the direction our Co-op should move, ventures you’re curious about exploring, or simply want to be involved in the decision-making body of the Co-op, now is your opportunity! The future of our Co-op truly depends on its ownership and owner involvement. If the Co-op cannot recruit new board members and volunteers, our options for moving forward will become very limited. We invite you to join us at our next board meeting which will be held virtually on Thursday, June 9, 2021, at 5 p.m. Click here to join the meeting.
Are you ready to re-imagine our Co-op and future together? Come join us! Visit our volunteer page to learn more about volunteering with the Co-op and joining the Board of directors, and be sure to fill out the volunteer interest form! Plus, save the date for our annual meeting on August 29, 4 p.m. - 6 p.m., at Geercrest Farm, and read on for more information about local food happenings.
We’re wishing you all a joyful spring and prosperous summer ahead.
Kelly Hilton, Cayla Catino, Marc van Anda, Flora Guiterrez,
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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!