We've previously communicated, via multiple channels, our progress on securing the funds for our initial site at 109 S. Main Street in Lombard. In an effort to remain transparent, we wanted to provide the below update.
In February 2021, we signed a tentative lease for a site at 109 S. Main Street. Our projected costs for that development were $4.4M. Over the last year, we held two capital campaigns to raise the $4.4M needed to fully fund our store. By December, we secured $3.2M ($1.67M in owner investments, $300K in owner equity, and $1.2M bank loan). To bridge the $1.2M gap, we turned to the village of Lombard, DuPage County, and the State of Illinois for assistance. Both the village and county declined our request for funds, and while the state-funded grant is still being considered we believe our chance of receiving any funds is low due to the competitive market and our lack of not-for-profit status. For more details, please read the update posted in March.
What does this mean for our store?
It means that we keep at it! We are officially announcing that we are searching for an alternative location for our community-owned grocery store in the Lombard area. While at first glance this may seem like a set-back, as JQ Hannah, Assistant Director at Food Co-op Initiative says, "it is not uncommon for food co-op startups to lose their first site, but the vast majority of those that do so still go on to find the right site, open to great success and become economic anchors of their community for decades to come." And Prairie Food Co-op will do just this!
Protecting our owner-members’ financial stake is our top priority and proper research as well as due diligence are keys to keeping with this goal. The Board continues to brainstorm ways to cut costs such as purchasing used equipment and evaluating lower-cost site options, but adequate store size, parking, accessibility and other considerations are important when evaluating a potential storefront. Any new site will have to match or exceed the standards set by 109 S. Main, and show an acceptable level of success as demonstrated in a similar, professionally-conducted market study.
“We still raised a phenomenal amount of capital and are in a strong position to move quickly when we find a site that meets our criteria for success. We have all worked hard for 9 years to get to where we are today. Our store is right around the corner.” - Kathy Nash, Co- Founder and President of the Board
Fall Community Investment Program
Co-ops are created to meet the needs of Owners through mutual self-reliance. A central, underlying concept, Cooperative Principle 3, states that Owners themselves are the primary source of capital, and Owners share common ownership and control of the Co-op's capital. As of today, 30% of our Owners invested or donated $1.67M - a strong financial commitment. However, while the total development cost will depend on the site selected, initial estimates indicate we do not yet have enough capital raised to fully fund our store.
To ensure we have the funding, we will hold one final Community Investment Program campaign in the fall. Over the next few months we will be connecting with our owners, seeking volunteers, and developing a solid strategy to ensure success in this final effort.
We feel confident in where we are. We believe in our mission and in you, our Owners. Together, We Got This!
Don't want to wait until the Fall? Contact us now at [email protected] to volunteer and or invest!