Let’s Build a Bigger Space & Grow Stronger Together

I became an owner at Menomonie Market Food Co-op (MMFC) in the early 2000s. It was easy to shop at the small store located on Second Street as a single person since I was just buying groceries for myself. In the small, quaint store, you could grab a shopping basket and quickly make your way through the aisles. When I relocated to Eau Claire, I shopped at Just Local Food Co-op the same way—I would fill a basket and take a quick trip around the small store. By 2013, my family had grown, and we were back in Menomonie. I quickly realized that maneuvering a cart and an infant car seat was not easy in the Second Street MMFC location! Luckily, MMFC grew with my family. My second child was born in the summer of 2015, which is the same year MMFC opened its doors at the current store on East Main Street. The co-op is bigger now, but it still has the comfort of a small store where kids can wander aisles to help pick out groceries and you are sure to run into a friendly acquaintance.

On a family level, the bigger store in Menomonie fosters the sense of community, offers ways to connect with others through events, and provides an opportunity to teach kids about the impact of buying local food. On a community level, the co-op has become a landmark in Menomonie and is also known for its role in supporting community programs and services. On a systems level, increased sales from a larger store support local farmers and producers. These are just some of the ways I’ve watched the expansion of the co-op help our community in Menomonie grow stronger together.

A bigger store will bring these same benefits to Eau Claire. The proposed location for the expanded downtown Eau Claire store is in a census tract designated as low-income and low food access. In addition to bringing affordable food options to this neighborhood, the growth of the Eau Claire location will mean an expansion of community programs, services, and in-store events. Of significant importance, the increased sales will support even more local farmers and producers, as well as support of local nonprofits and organizations.

In 2015, the expansion of the Menomonie location was partially financed by owner investment in Class C Shares, a crucial piece in demonstrating the financial commitment of owners to financiers. At our April meeting, the Board of Directors discussed a timeline for the sale of preferred shares, also called “Class C Shares,” which is scheduled for June 1, 2022 through August 30, 2022. We will be offering 4,000 preferred shares at $500 each to MMFC owners who are fully vested and live in Wisconsin, with a goal to raise at least $2,000,000 in ownership investments by the end of the sale.

Find details on how you can help the co-op build a bigger space, expand access to local food, and grow stronger together by visiting MMFC.COOP/EXPANSION!

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.

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