The time it takes to open a new co-op is anywhere from 3-5 years (sometimes a bit longer) and is dependent on many factors: how quickly we build our ownership base, secure a permanent location and financing, and hire a talented General Manager. All of these key pieces must be in place to open the co-op. As you can imagine we encounter both successes and challenges along the way that affect the overall timing of the project.
Since the beginning of our organizing efforts, we have sought out the vast resources available to help new co-ops get off the ground successfully. As the saying goes, “why re-invent the wheel?” The wheel is a development model based on co-ops’ best practices in establishing a new co-op. This model, along with the corresponding support from industry-specific expertise, has guided us and keeps us focused as we navigate through the multi-faceted, complex process of opening a community-owned, full-service grocery store.
Throughout our start-up phase and beyond, we will also look to our owners to learn how we can best serve your needs, which makes the co-op stronger and helps us accomplish our collective mission.
Stage One: Organize (200 Owners)
Our Current Stage: We’re working to sign up 300 co-owners to secure the support and funding necessary to conduct a feasibility study, which will help us determine the co-op’s location and develop a business plan.
- Primary feasibility assessed
- Community demonstrates support for food co-op
- Legal work to prepare for incorporation
- Founding board of directors established
- Bylaws established
- Membership systems prepared
- Project manager identified
- Committees established
- Board, project manager and committees set to work understanding cooperatives, the development model, and committed to working toward long-term success
Stage 2: Feasibility and Planning (500-600 Owners)
Stage 2a Feasibility:
- Market study conducted
- Contracted with bookkeeper and accountants
- Commercial realtor contracted
- Continuing education
- Broadening ties in community
Stage 2b Planning:
- Finalize site evaluation
- Business plan and pro forma developed
- Plan and prepare to secure site with contingencies
- Plan General Manager search process
Stage 3 Implementation
Stage 3a Preconstruction (800 Owners)
Stage 3b Construction (1,000 Owners)
Stage 3c Opening (1,200+ Owners)
We’re working to sign up 300 co-owners in 2015 to secure the support and funding necessary to conduct a feasibility study, which will help us determine the co-op’s location and develop a business plan.