Update on the store
News on the Great Pumpkin, and our Owner Loan Campaign
The West Chester Cooperative board is moving quickly on a turn-key store opportunity (the former Great Pumpkin market in West Chester - though we are continuing to evaluate the Post Office as a possible store location). In order to move the process forward, we need to raise money AND gain new member-owners to open a store. Thus far, we have secured $150,000 funding (equity + investors), plus pledges for an additional $20,000 (See below for updated figure), all going towards the estimated $465,000 for store start-up costs.
So we are kicking off our loan campaign in JANUARY 2020!
We will also kick off a progressive member-owner drive to increase our owner base. So what exactly have we been up to lately? Read on....
UPDATES ON THE GREAT PUMPKIN SITE:
Lease negotiations are in progress
Existing equipment acquisition is in progress
Updated market study is COMPLETE (and this site is worth it!)
Updated grocery pro forma COMPLETE
Store design team selection COMPLETE
Recruitment of General Manager is in progress
UPDATES ON THE POST OFFICE SITE:
Survey by architect and construction team is COMPLETE
Project cost development is in progress
$100,000 in member-owner equity
$50,000 community loan commitment
$20,000 in member-owner loan pledges UPDATE: $68,100 as of January 24, 2020!
Cooperative lending agency review COMPLETE
Member-owner Lending Program - scheduled to launch in January!
Review of local lending agencies, grant opportunities, sponsorships in progress
But what can you do now to help??!!
PLEDGE: As we plan to kick-off our loan campaign, we are looking for PLEDGES from the community. If you are able and would like to make a pledge to bring this store to life, we ask that you complete our Pledge form. Once the Loan Campaign is in place, we will contact you with the agreement documents.
DONATE: We are looking for the Angels in our Community! Please consider making a donation to the West Chester Co-Op. Why? As an Angel, you can identify with the core values and mission of bringing a Community-Owned Grocery store to West Chester and understand that your financial support can bring this project from concept to reality.
A donation to the WC Co-Op could ultimately account for a large portion of our new store financing needs and show institutional lenders the robust community buy-in for our new
location. A strong response from the community may also limit our need to secure bank financing allowing us to operate with limited or no third-party debt.
LOAN CAMPAIGN: Our member loan program is an opportunity to invest locally in your Co-op while earning a return on investment and enriching your community. We also want to be sure that friends and family of our owners, potential future owners and other supportive parties could elect to invest in the West Chester Co-op. How? Consider making a (NON MEMBER) Loan to the WC Co-Op.
WHY MEMBER-OWNER LOANS?
Member-owner loans are much less expensive for us to procure and pay back than bank loans (banks add a lot of other costs to their loans, including fees, reporting requirements, covenants, etc. that are not included in their rates but make the overall cost of their loans higher).
Member-owner loans are a much more flexible way for us to raise money, without as many restrictions as a bank loan.
Once the store is open and making money, we will gain credit-worthiness and be able to approach banks for our larger project at the Post Office.
Loan Campaign Details coming soon!
BECOME A MEMBER-OWNER: More than anything, we need you, your friends, neighbors, and co-workers to become a member-owner! If you've been on the fence, NOW is the time to join!
If you have any questions, please contact Marnie Rhen, President of the Co-op board at Exec@westchester.coop.
Thank you all for your COOPERATION!
The Co-op Board
Marnie Rhen, President
Cecile Adkins, Secretary
Sue Patterson, Treasurer
Regina Pfohl, Director-at-Large
Renee Ryan, Co-Vice-President
Don Welsh, Business Advisor