It’s Time to Invest in Your Co-op
Hello, everyone! Are you as excited as I am to go to the farmer’s market, walk around in bare feet, and get a tomato plant in the ground?
In addition to running two great stores, Menomonie Market Food Co-op (MMFC) has been walking down several paths that are about to converge into one fun road ahead. We have secured a Development Agreement with the City of Eau Claire for the perfect downtown site, we have been working internally to determine what programs will be in the new store and how the two locations will work together. River Valley Architects has been drawing us a beautiful building, and Market & Johnson has been working on materials and a timeline for construction. This week, as we open up our Preferred Shares Campaign, all these paths are converging together, and we are moving forward! Now it is time for you to show us that we are on the right track. Investment through Preferred Shares shows our lender that our owners are ready to support our second bigger store. The more funds we raise internally, the stronger our financial position will be through the project and for years to come.
We kicked off our capital campaign for the Menomonie expansion nine years ago. We had worked so hard to get where we were, with lots of false starts. I was so nervous; I worried that no one would show up to invest, but quite the opposite happened. In just six weeks, we hit our goal of $1,000,000 in equity for the project. I was dumbfounded by the support; it was such a strong signal that the people in Menomonie and surrounding areas wanted a larger co-op with more amenities, more products, and a bigger connection to our local economy.
In 2013 when we accomplished that amazing feat, Menomonie Market Food Co-op had just 1,100 owners; about 17% of them purchased Preferred Shares. Many people bought one share for $500, while some people bought many shares and invested a substantial amount. This truly is the cooperative spirit at work; it doesn’t matter if you buy one share or 200, your stake in the decision-making at our co-op remains the same, and you are equally important to us as an owner, customer, vendor, staff member, or friend.
Now we are a larger co-op with 4,500 owners across the Chippewa Valley. Of the original investors, more than half of them want to remain invested to see this next project succeed, and many of them want to invest more. But what’s most exciting is that there are almost 3,000 owners who have never been offered preferred shares! If you shop at the Menomonie store but joined since the last offering, this is your chance to say thank you to the owners who put up the cash for your store and to pay it forward to all of the folks who live closer to the Eau Claire store. Many of you in Eau Claire have been waiting for this opportunity, and it is finally here.
Can we raise $2,000,000 between the 4,500 of us? I know we can, but it does take each of us to consider an investment. We are committing ourselves to be in touch with all of you. If you already know that you want to learn more about investing, filling out the form on our website at MMFC.COOP/EXPANSION will help us get you the information you need and move down our list. Together we can do it!
This article was originally published in the May/June 2022 issue of our bi-monthly newsletter, The Morsel. If you’d like to read more stories like this one and stay up to date on the latest co-op news and events, pick up a print copy in-store on your next grocery run or find more news on our website here.