It’s time for this week’s big expansion update and I am ready, drum roll please, to announce…
. . . well, not much.
I know how much you were hoping that I was finally about to announce that we’re ready to start the physical building of the store and our estimated completion date. The air is fairly crackling around me with the dynamic tension and excitement of Common Ground’s owners, customers, and staff wanting the building of our new store space to begin. And believe me, no one wants more than me to announce the exact date build out will begin.
But it’s my job to make sure that due diligence has been done in every way before we begin, and after a week of working hard on getting the build out costs down to the budget we have available, we haven’t yet reached our goal. We’ve been able to trim literally hundreds of thousands from the bids since this same time last week without losing any of the great changes we’ve promised. Deli hot bar and cold salad bar? Check, still in the plan. Fresh meat case? Check, still in the plan. Fabulous educational kitchen/classroom? Yep, it’s still in there. Yet there is still a gap between the reality of the build out bids and our budget.
Tim Gibbs -your fellow owner and general contractor- and I still have several more key pieces of the build out plan to investigate for potential budget savings. After that, I’ll know for sure if we can go forward with the current budget and the current plan, or if one or the other will have to change before we can start – either the budget increasing, or having to remove some items from our original expansion plan.
When I sent out the expansion update last week, I figured a few owners would email me with questions about it. What I didn’t expect was the flood of emails from owners cheering me on, expressing their confidence in their co-op, and asking how they could help. One brand new owner contacted me to offer to talk to the building supply company they work for to get us special discounts; several owners emailed to say they are going to do more of their shopping at the Co-op and bring friends to become owners; another owner asked if they could volunteer to help with the painting of the new space to keep costs down; and several more owners emailed to ask if they could still make an owner loan.
Common Ground’s owners are amazing – your commitment to your co-op inspires me over and over again.
Can you help?
Absolutely. While Common Ground met its initial owner loan goal for this expansion, we are still accepting owner loans from now until the project’s completion and every loan made by an owner makes a big impact. The more of this expansion we can finance ourselves, the less Common Ground has to pay in interest to outside lenders and the stronger Common Ground’s financial position is. Owner loan packets are still available at the Co-op’s registers, or you can call 352-3347 and ask for me or Lisa, Common Ground’s Office Manager.
You can also help by sharing your enthusiasm for Common Ground with others and bringing in your neighbors, friends, and coworkers to see your co-op. Common Ground’s sales continue to grow at more than three times the average rate of food co-ops all over the nation, and we need to maintain that terrific momentum through the expansion process. Every time you spread the word about why you love Common Ground, you help make that happen.
Taking the extra time to make sure we are building our store in the most cost-effective, fiscally sound way possible is a gift to our co-op’s future. I know the waiting is making us all nuts, but our expanded co-op is going to be more than worth the wait.
As always, I love to hear from owners; please e-mail me at email@example.com and I will personally respond to every email.
Until next week,