Reflecting on 2021 - Co-Op Progress!
2021 was a significant year for us. We added 284 new member-owners, during a pandemic no less! Now 728 member-owners strong we are still on track thanks to the amazing coaching help from our friends at Food Cooperative Initiative (FCI.coop). Let us look at highlights from last year.
We continued our tabling at the Williamsville Farmer’s market, which was a wonderful opportunity to see all of you, whether you volunteered or just stopped by to say hi – we plan to continue our presence at the market in 2022! Please consider supporting the Co-op by volunteering at the Farmers Market.
We enhanced our social media presence on Facebook and kicked off a campaign in March that increased our number of member-owners by about 5 percent over a five-day period.
While we lost our Vice President (VP) to a move out of state, John Ostroot stepped up to the plate to serve as VP as well as Secretary.
We held our 2021 elections and welcomed back Jim Walfrand who continues to be our President and new board member David Gardner who is now serving as Secretary.
We have moved forward with site selection and have been working with a local real estate broker (who is also a member-owner) to assess, evaluate and consider the best candidates for a site. We have received numerous proposals within the Village but also outside the Village for sites and are evaluating the proposals with industry experts to best decide the location.
As part of site selection, we are collaborating with an expert regarding the pro forma and who is part of Columinate Co-op, a network of consultants who share resources, provide referrals, and lend counsel.
We have secured $200,000 in financing without a specific location! We are working with local and National Banks about the financing of the Co-op. All are very interested in being partners with us.
We have started the process of the Capital Campaign. This process will work with member-owners on becoming investors in the Co-op. If you wish to participate in the committee, please reach out to one of the Board members.
It may seem like the process to launch the Co-op is still taking too long but understand that our growth is based solely on community support, and we gain support through these grassroots events as well as word of mouth from our current member-owners. The average time it takes from idea to store opening is seven years and as of now, we are right on schedule!
We have about $75,000 towards our goal and continue to be prudent with our spending for marketing and administrative expenses. Your suggestions, as well as support in realizing these ideas, are still welcomed and encouraged. Please feel free to reach out to any board member with ideas you may have.
Our next goal is to grow our base to between 800 to 1,000 member-owners. This is part of our implementation stage, if each of us could bring in one new member, we would more than fulfill that goal of a member-owned food coop right here in Williamsville!
As always, thank you for being part of this journey.
Village Cooperative Market of Williamsville