Prairie Food Co-op Community Grocery

Beth Peluse

  • published Community Investment 2021-09-07 15:43:58 -0500

    Community Investment Program

    Community Investment Program

    As a co-op, investments from our Community are needed to raise the capital necessary to build our grocery store at 109 S. Main Street in Lombard, IL. As the first co-op in DuPage County, Prairie Food Co-op will support local farmers and producers and make delicious, healthy, sustainable food accessible to all. Our store will be your convenient one-stop-shop for fresh, local and organic produce, dairy and meats, fair-trade and conventional foods, bulk items, wine & beer, and grab & go prepared foods.


    Only $400K Needed to Open our Store IF.....

    Prairie Food Co-op needs approximately $4.4M to build, staff, and operate our store. PFC Owners have contributed over $1.6M and West Suburban Bank and LEAF have approved a $1.2M loan contingent on PFC raising the remaining funds. $1.65+$1.25+$300K (Ownership purchases) = $3.2M raised thus far. That leaves a $1.2M gap (4.4-3.2=1.2). The PFC Board is working very hard to close that gap via the following funding opportunities:

    • $400K Downtown TIF (TIF funds are used to incentivize downtown businesses development). PFC directors and volunteers are working closely with Village of Lombard staff on eligible TIF funding.
    • $400K ARPA funds from DuPage County (Lombard trustee Anthony Puccio is working with DuPage County board members Brian Krajewski and Liz Chaplin on this funding opportunity)
    • $400K State of IL RDMS Grant (Rebuild Downtowns & Main Streets provides capital grants to support economic recovery in commercial corridors and downtowns). We have not included this grant in our projections as it is very competitive. But we want Owners to know that the Board is working diligently to pursue all possible funding opportunities. 

    We are confident that $800K in funding will be approved in 2022 Q1. IF that happens, we are only $400K away from opening our store!! The developer is also confident that this funding will be approved and has given us a few additional months to wrap up funding. We are SO CLOSE - NOW is the time to step up and help us cross the finish line. We do not plan on running another formal funding drive and are counting on YOU - are Owners - to contact us and help close the gap.

    Ready to Invest? That’s great! Schedule a call with a Co-Operator to start the process!




    $4.4 Million Dollar Funding Goal

    Our market analysis indicates that $4.4 million is needed to build and open our grocery store.

    Sources of Funding

    • $2 million from Owners via donations and interest bearing investments

    • $1.2 million bank loan (traditional financing).

    • $800K in ARPA + TIF

    • We must secure this funding by March 1, 2022. 

    Progress Report

     As of November 2021,

     1600+ Owners initially invested $200 to become Founding Owners

     Lease signed for 109 S. Main - a premier site at below-market rates

     Over $1.6 million pledged, and available in an Escrow account

     A $1.2 million loan approved, contingent on $3M equity raised

    ✓ Construction started and store design complete!

    How Can YOU Help?

    Current Owners

    We have made it easy for you to contribute.

    Want to learn more? Review your contribution options below, and then Schedule a call with a Co-Operator to ask any questions and start the process!


    Not yet an Owner?

    Join Today, Impact Tomorrow

    Sign up to become an owner today!


    Investment Options








    Professional market studies show that 109 S. Main in Lombard is the ideal location for a thriving co-op and that we can generate earnings to buy back preferred share and loan investments. However, investments are not without risk, including the risk of loss. 

    This is not an offer to sell securities which is made only by the Confidential Offering Memorandum and only members who are IL residents are eligible to invest in Owner Loans and only IL residents are eligible to invest in Preferred Shares

  • published CIP FAQs in Community Investment 2021-02-04 07:16:12 -0600

    CIP FAQs


    We know that investing in anything is a big decision and that you probably have a lot of questions. We've listed out a few of the most commonly asked questions about the Community Investment Program below. If your question isn't listed, feel free to reach out to one of our CIP Volunteers at [email protected] or 630-446-0010.


    Why ask our Community to Invest?

    It’s how Co-ops build the capital they need to be successful. Community investment demonstrates the existence of a loyal customer base, which:

    • increases our chances for success
    • generates funding that is less costly and more flexible than banks can offer
    • gives commercial lenders confidence that Prairie Food Co-op is viable and desirable so they can offer PFC additional financing if needed


    What’s in it for investors like me?

    You have the opportunity to earn a respectable return and gain the satisfaction of knowing your money will:

    • be invested locally
    • increase the quality of life for our entire community
    • support a venture that aligns with your values
    • be THE KEY to our store opening its doors!

    Our Community Investment Program offers a unique opportunity that is not tied to the volatility of the overall stock market. It very literally moves money from Wall Street to Main Street, where it can make tangible things happen within our community. This is an opportunity to invest in an organization whose values you fully understand and actually have a say in.

    Can I help in ways that aren’t financial?

    Of course! There are many non-financial ways to participate and get us closer to store open! Starting now, you could...

    • Ask 15 friends to join you in ownership = a $3k value
    • Share your time & expertise = priceless. We are looking for the following skills:
      • Marketing / Graphic Design
      • Sales / Connectors / Callers
      • Financial / Legal Paperwork / Closers
      • Administrative
      • Master of gratitude and celebrations
      • Grant writers

    Is PFC Seeking Traditional Bank Financing?

    Yes, PFC has a $1.2M traditional bank loan in underwriting from West Suburban Bank in partnership with LEAF.

    What about my Ownership Shares?

    As a PFC owner, you bought two Ownership Shares for $200 total. These shares are tied to voting rights within our democratic organization, One Owner = One Vote. Ownership shares funded our outreach and start-up efforts but represent a small fraction of the capital needed.

    What if the Co-Op doesn’t open? Will I get my money back?

    Prairie Food Co-op will hold all funds invested in Shares and Loans in escrow until we have raised a minimum of $2.5 million in Owner contributions. At that time, the board will re-assess feasibility, as we have done at every major step of our development process. If the board determines that the project is no longer feasible and will not proceed, investments will be returned. Once escrow is broken, if the co-op does not open or closes after opening, investments are unlikely to be returned and subject to legal requirements with all contributors.

    Charitable donations cannot be returned. Donations made to our fiscal agent on our behalf cannot be returned once made. If the board determines the project is no longer feasible, our fiscal agent will use the donated funds to support the wise use of cooperative approaches through education and development.

    What are Preferred Shares?

    Preferred Shares are stock that could yield annual dividends. Any Illinois resident can participate and buy up to 10 total PFC shares at $1,000 per share. Outside of donations, Preferred Shares are the most co-op friendly way to invest in PFC and should be considered a long-term investment (15+ years). They can yield annual dividends but like most stock, no promises.

    What are Owner Loans?

    Only Illinois PFC Owners are eligible to make a loan to Prairie Food Co-op with a legal agreement on interest rates and pay-off schedules. This is a mid-term investment of 15 years for investments ranging from $10,000 - $600,000. Money is eventually paid back and you earn interest on your loan. But like most loans, there are risks.

    How do Grants & Donations factor in?

    We will work with institutional funders, local foundations, community programs, philanthropists, and individuals like yourself to fund as much of the project as possible. For some folks and all those outside Illinois, a tax-deductible donation with no minimums or maximums is the most win-win way to contribute.

    Is there a deadline to raise the funds needed to build our store?

    Yes, we need to raise all $4.4M by December 15, 2021, in order to fulfill our lease agreement with the developer of our site. If we do not make that deadline, we will lose the site.

    When can I invest in PFC?

    The Community Investment Program kicked off January 2021. PFC Owners have contributed $1.1 M towards this $4.4 M project. Coupled with our $1.2M bank loan, we are halfway to our goal. We need to raise the remaining $2.2 M by December 15, 2021 to keep the lease for our site at 109 South Main. 

    If you already know you would like to contribute, reach out to us at [email protected] and we will put you at the top of our contact list once our legal paperwork is finalized and full program details are approved by our board.


    More questions? Please contact us at [email protected].


    We are not soliciting Owner capital in any form at this time. Owner loans will be available only to Illinois Owners, Preferred Shares will only be available to Illinois residents, and only pursuant to complete offering documents when and if a capital campaign is approved by the board.

  • published The Impact of Food Co-ops in News 2021-02-02 15:34:42 -0600

    The Impact of Food Co-ops


    Check out this inspiring report on the impacts that food co-ops have on their community.

    A few highlights:

    • What is a food co-op? (we hope you know but just in case....) A food co-op is a grocery store owned by your neighbors (and by you, if you choose). Unlike corporate chains, co-ops are totally independent and owned by folks in the community that shop there.
    • Local Control. Co-ops are owned by their communities, not some corporate office 1,000 miles away. Instead of focusing on Wall Street investors, co-ops focus on what their neighbors want—nourishing everyone according to their budget and cooking style. 
    • Community-focused. In 2019, co-ops donated $8 million to community organizations. In addition, co-ops work with their communities in ways that reflect each community’s unique needs. For example, many co-ops offer community dinner nights where healthy meals are under $5,
    • Sustainability -  Food co-ops are working individually to reduce their carbon footprints and respond to the climate crisis by measuring and reducing their greenhouse gas emissions from electricity, fuel use, and refrigerant gases.


  • donated 2015-12-27 18:29:24 -0600