October 1st was an exciting day for us. We achieved our current 250 Owner goal AND welcomed "Co-op Month".
We began selling Prairie Food Co-op Ownership's just before Halloween last year and in one short year, we've come a long way. We've laid the groundwork for a successful business, putting in place strong systems and support for the work to come. We've held formal elections for our Board of Directors and held our very first Annual Meeting of Owners. We've participated in more community events than we can count, and hosted a fair number of our own. All in all, it's been an extremely busy and productive year. And best yet, it's brought us to today.
Today we are honored to have the support of 250 Owners - people who believe in the power of the cooperative business model to transform the way we shop for food. Who believe in a business that puts people ahead of profits. A business that injects money into the local economy by supporting local food producers and providing great jobs. Cooperatives have a profound positive effect on local communities and we are thrilled to bring Prairie Food Co-op to Lombard.
Now that we have meet our initial 250 Owner goal, what's next? First up is hiring our first employee and commissioning a market analysis to tell us what size store our community supports, what products and services the community desires, and where the store should be located in Lombard. And, of course, we will continue to recruit new Owners. We will need at least 1000 Owners by store opening.
Opening a cooperative grocery store is a process - outlined in a great info-graph here. We will continue to have mini-Owner campaigns as we work towards opening the store. But, 250 Owners is a great achievement because it shows strong support and allows us to move forward at a quicker pace.
We are so grateful to our Owners, who are the foundation on which we will build the co-op. And, of course, if you would like to support our effort, become an Owner! We will always accept new Owners - there is no limit to the number of Owners we can have. Owners who join before the store opens have a powerful voice in how the future store develops.