We’re officially two weeks into our Owner Loan Campaign! Over 200 Co-op owners have picked up their owner loan packets and are seriously considering loans to make Common Ground’s expansion possible. In two short weeks we have over $150K in loan pledges and we’re expecting more to start pouring in over the next two weeks. We’ve had so many positive and enthusiastic conversations with owners about the loan campaign over the phone and while tabling on the porch on Saturdays. All the information about interest rates and terms are in the loan packets, or you can call and ask for me or Lisa Pacheco, our Loan Campaign Coordinator, to discuss the terms directly with us.
Owner loans are the key to making this expansion a reality. As we are the owners of Common Ground, lenders need to see a significant portion of the project funded directly by us to know that we have the belief in and the passion for our co-op to make the expanded store a huge success. There are many powerful ways to support our co-op, but there are few that can make more happen and create more change in our community than an owner loan.
Why invest in Common Ground? I am betting that each of the over 20 owners who have already pledged loans would have their own reasons that would overlap and yet be unique. I cannot speak for them, but I can speak for myself. My partner and I have chosen to invest in the expansion for many reasons, but the one I want to share is making change happen. As we plan for our future and that of our young son, we’re looking for ways to invest that will not only provide a good return for our family, but for our community and world. It’s a rare thing to find ways to invest that are socially responsible and directly enrich our own community. By investing in Common Ground I am not only able to invest in my family’s future, but I can also make a direct impact on my community to grow support for local farms, encourage the creation of new local farms, increase education on food issues, and make our C-U community economically stronger.
Would you like to share your reasons for investing in your co-op? We are interviewing willing Co-op owners who are investing in this expansion (don’t worry, if you’d like to stay anonymous you 100% can! You don’t have to participate in an interview!) and making short videos where they share with all of us why they made the decision. Please let us know if you’d like to participate. We are conducting our first owner-investor interview today and will be sharing the video with you next week!
While the big focus right now is on getting the expansion funded, there is much else going on behind the scenes to make this expansion a reality. We’re having one-on-one farmer meetings to discuss what our current farmers want to provide for the Co-op as we expand and their ability to meet the Co-op’s growing needs for local foods; we’re working with a professional natural foods store designer to finish costing out our equipment needs; I’m working directly with our local general contractor, Tim Gibbs, and our architect to perfect the expanded store drawings; and our deli manager, Amelia Bolt, is working with our fabulous natural foods food service consultant, Allen Seidner, to plan not only the offerings but also the functionality of our new deli experience post-expansion. There’s a constant hum of planning going on here, and we’ll be sharing more about it here with you each week!
Next week I’ll answer the owner question, “How can I support the expansion if I can’t make a loan?” There are lots of ways, and I’m excited to share them with you! If you have a question you’d like to see addressed here on the expansion blog, you can send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org