Over 2 years ago, I wrote a post detailing our efforts to open a food co-op. At that time, although the project looked dead in the water, a few people refused to let it fail. A couple of months ago I started to feel confident we could meet our fundraising goal and last month I wrote a post titled The Co-op is Getting Closer where you could feel the optimism as the effort went into the final days. I think one of the main reasons for success is that the 6 or 7 main people involved all had specific skills and a passion to use those skills selflessly in the true spirit of a co-op. My role has been as the Owner Liaison Officer, but really what I have spent countless hours doing is much more mundane that that sounds. I have developed and maintained the Co-op website and input and updated owner records in our owner database. Others have used their legal, outreach, publicity, and real estate experience to keep the effort going. One man, a computer programmer, developed the code for the owner database and managed the program to send out periodic emails to the Co-op owners. It seems like it has just been the perfect combination of people and skill sets needed to see the effort though to where it is today.
So, after all this time and all the hard work it looks like our community will finally get its food co-op! Our fundraising goal of 1/2 million dollars has been achieved and further funds continue to come in. The success can be seen graphically at our Food Co-op web page. Isn’t that a great looking thermometer! With the experience and expertise of the people who will take this project from this point to the ribbon cutting, I feel like it is just a matter of time.
A couple of years ago when the first attempt to open the co-op collapsed, one person, (a former city councilman who is also the programmer mentioned above), stepped forward with a call to not lose faith and to continue working. His idea was that this community really needed and wanted a co-op and in the end would support it with the finances needed to open a store. That night a few of us climbed on board to help, and over the next year a few others with some greatly needed expertise joined the BOD. Today we are looking at the successful fundraising results that so many thought would never happen.
The journey to this point has been long and arduous for all involved. Although I certainly put in my own share of effort, it pales in comparison to what others did. Their community outreach, analysis of potential sites, and single minded attention to what the owners of this co-op wanted is why we are here today. Hopefully in a few months I will be writing another post with photos of our new store!