The month of October is National Co-op Month. Cooperative enterprises, including food co-ops, are celebrating the benefits and value that co-ops bring to their members and communities. Unlike traditional business models, food co-ops are member-owned, democratically controlled and serve as an engine of the local economy because the profits stay local.
The Kitsap Community Food Co-op is celebrating National Co-op Month by starting a “31 Members in 31 Days” drive. The equity from membership fees enable the co-op to continue the work of planning and ultimately reaching our goal of opening a full-service retail grocery store that features locally produced food and products to the community.
Over the next few months the work of the board of directors, and many volunteers, will focus on implementing our plan for the next stages in our development; specifically, business planning.
A good business plan will provide potential partners and investors with our story. Generally, a business plan will answer four questions:
- Who are we?
- What do we hope to accomplish?
- How do we plan to do it?
- How will we pay for it?
While these are simple questions, the answers can get very complex and require a great deal of data and information. For example, earlier this year, the board commissioned a market research study that gave us specific market data on the store sites we’ve been exploring, including sales projections. Such a study costs the co-op money. We contracted with a consultant from Cooperative Development Services (CDS) for the market study. They are some of the best consultants in the country because they work exclusively with the food co-op industry and are worth every penny we spend.
The next step in our business plan development is commissioning a fiscal proforma. This is a document that considers all of the available data we currently have about the store (e.g. estimates for sales projections, employee costs, debt service) and gives us a profit/loss projection that extends out to 10 years. This helps us to plan for the store, and gives members, investors and financial institutions an idea of our profit potential.
That’s where the “31 Members in 31 Days” campaign comes in. By reaching our goal of 31 new members, we will generate the funds necessary to contract with CDS to begin the first phase of the fiscal proforma.
Help us reach our goal. If you know folks that have been holding out on joining the food co-op, reach out to them. Tell them our story. Encourage them to become a member-owner just like you!
We are all very excited about our progress thus far, we’ve come a long way and we are closer than ever to our dream of opening a store. But it will only happen with your help.
Feel free to contact any of the board members if you have questions or would like to learn how you can volunteer.