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!
Hello Everyone and Happy Spring!
I love Spring! I love the flowers, the bees, the new growth on plants, and most of all, the birds singing early in the morning. If we have to stay home at least it’s during such a beautiful season. Each beautiful day brings us closer to reopening our communities.
Speaking of normal, I sometimes wonder how this worldwide event will change our ‘normal’? What impact will this have on our local communities, businesses, farmers, and residents and how long will it take to financially recover? These are the questions I ask myself while sitting in my backyard, reveling at all the yard work I have accomplished so early in the season. My prayer is that this has given us a chance to stop, reassess, rethink the way we do things, and open back up with more creative and effective opportunities to work and play.
We have discovered the power of virtual connections, yet the isolation has also made it clear that we need human connection. Just talking with someone from sidewalk to porch is exhilarating these days. I like technology and am grateful for the IT folks that have worked diligently to keep our services working with the immediate increased stress on bandwidth. I am grateful for the downtime and virtual connections but yearn for the ‘good ole days’ of hugging my friends again.
What do you see when you look to the future? I see a food co-op store open to everyone. I see the financial and social impact that it will have on our local economy. From having consistent, living wages for our employees to continuous support of our local farmers. I see an array of local, healthy food that feeds our children and residents. I see it supporting local businesses and programs. I see it educating and giving people a place that is supportive and purposeful. I see fun and informative events that entire families can participate in. Our co-op will do all of that and more, but it takes all of us to make it happen. Anywhere from serving on the board or a committee, to donating and investing money to the opening of our store.
Our Capital Campaign is up and running! This is the campaign that raises money to open our store. You will be hearing more about it in the upcoming months as we prepare to launch a formal campaign. Please see our website for the information about making your investment now!
We are all in this together and together we can open a great store!
Silverton Food Co-op President
We asked, you answered, we're listening! 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 results from the owner survey and wanted to share the highlights with our SFC community. Next month, we'll share more about how we're addressing each area of feedback we received. And if you asked a specific question in your survey response, you should be hearing from our Board of Directors this week. Check out the owner survey highlights!
I hope you are staying healthy and safe during these days of uncertainty. Most of us have never been through anything like this before and we are all experiencing the effects of it, each in our own way. Some of us have been impacted financially, some of us have cared for friends and family struggling with the virus, and some of us have experienced loss. Our hearts and thoughts are with you at this time. Please know that your Co-op Board of Directors are here to help you if you need anything. Reach out to us and let us how we can support you.
The Board has been meeting weekly through video conference to reassess our outreach strategy and discuss how the recent economic downturn may impact our Capital Campaign. Prior to the “stay-at-home” order, we sent a survey to owners to gather your input on recent and upcoming co-op activities. We are processing the results and will share this information with you shortly. The survey was focused on life before the current pandemic, so we are going to continue to find ways to get input on the current situation as well.
As we all adjust to this current situation, the need for our store is even more clear. Building local food security, investing in our local economy and creating a community food source is critical for the future of our town. We need to create that foundation for farmers, producers, employees, and businesses that can feed and supply our communities. As an individual household it is difficult and nearly impossible to produce all the food and supplies to live. The thought of raising your own meat, dairy, produce, grain, honey, herbs, pet food, household supplies, etc., seems overwhelming when looking at it from an individual’s perspective. But our local farmers and businesses do this already and are able to supply our community with these needs. Our store can help support them as they do this. Our store can be a place we can all go to get what we need for our family.
Grocery stores are seeing record sales. When we spend our money at the stores, who are we supporting? What if that money stayed in our local community? There is a huge difference between a corporate-owned grocery store and a locally-owned grocery store and that difference is local. That difference is community. That difference is connection. This is about all of us, together, making a difference! This is about us standing up for what we want!
Let’s take care of our community now, our community that we love so much, so we can all be stronger when this is over. We are in this together!
Stay safe and stay healthy,
Silverton Food Co-op