CO-OP RECEIVES $50,000 MATCHING GRANT FROM THE WALPOLE FOUNDATION, PASSES TWO-THIRDS OF ITS FUNDING GOAL

The Great River Co-op has received a $50,000 matching grant from the Walpole Foundation to help capitalize the business.  The co-op will receive the gift after raising an additional $50,000 from member-owners and other private donors.

 

“The significance of the Walpole Foundation’s support can’t be overstated,” says Kim Mastrianni, president of the co-op’s board of directors.  “The foundation understands the key role of agriculture in the Great River region’s past and present economies, in preserving open space, and a way of life that the people who live here cherish.  With its gift, the foundation is investing in the co-op’s mission to secure and strengthen that vision and the region’s agricultural economy.”

 

The Walpole Foundation’s gift also lifts the co-op past the two-thirds mark in its fund-raising campaign. 

 

Building the co-op’s store on Route 12 in Walpole, installing equipment, purchasing inventory, and operating the store until it pays its own way is a $2.1-million venture, according to projections developed by the Monadnock Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and the nationally-respected CDS Consulting Co-op.  Commitments by MEDC and Bensonwood, the store’s developer, total $1.4 million, leaving the co-op to raise $700,000.  The Walpole Foundation’s grant brings the co-op more than two-thirds of the way to reality.

 

If our members and the community will join in the effort, the store could be built a year from now.  All together now!

 

HELP BUILD THE CO-OP – GIVE A TREE

The team at Bensonwood, our builder, has offered us a great idea that could give us a more elegant building, cut the co-op’s operating cost, and involve the Great River community:  if we can collect donations of 100 to 150 hemlock trees (and donated or reduced-price logging and milling services), the Great River Co-op’s home could be a Bensonwood-built timber frame structure.

 

Bensonwood is hoping for old hemlocks but other species also might work.  The trees should be mature and tall.  If you have trees to offer, or ideas of people we can approach to ask for trees, please call Ben at 603-445-2200 or e-mail trees@greatriverfoodcoop.com.

Together, we can build it!

Help plant the seeds.  Click here to make it happen.

Tedd Benson, Bensonwood, and the Monadnock Economic Development Corporation have joined us as partners to build and open the store.  But your fellow member-owners need you to help.  Click here to see the three ways you can take part.

The co-op has a location.  Tedd Benson and his team at Bensonwood are designing our store's building.  The Monadnock Economic Development Corporation is working with us to secure $2.2 million in funding.  But the Great River Co-op's market can become a reality only if we all step up.  Click here to learn how you can help make it happen.

From the Great River Co-op's annual meeting

Members gathered at the Great River Co-op’s third annual meeting on Tuesday, April 29.  Our guests were Jack Dugan, president of the Monadnock Economic Development Corporation (MEDC); and Tedd Benson, renowned timber-frame builder and founder of   Bensonwood.  Both organizations are partners in the creation of the co-op’s store.

 

Tedd presented a preliminary sketch of the building and site plan.  The barn-shaped building will begin as a 4,000-square-foot structure, the initial size recommended by our market study, and is designed to be easily expandable to 6,000 square feet when needed.  The south-facing side of the roof is planned to be lined with photovoltaic panels and Tedd explained that, within our budget, he hopes to make this a “net zero” building – producing as much power as it uses.  Bensonwood will design and build the store.

 

Jack outlined the $2.2-million plan to open the store next year.  Both Bensonwood and MEDC will invest directly and will jointly own the store building.  Those investments will be combined with a series of grants, low-interest loans, participation in the state’s tax-credit sales program, and an investment from the Great River Co-op.  The funds not only will allow the building to be built; they also will equip and stock the store and give the co-op several months of working capital.  At several points in the future, the Great River Co-op will have the option, but not the obligation, to buy the building.

 

The co-op’s share of the investment is $750,000, which will be raised over the next 12 months through the sale of membership shares and gifts and loans from members.  The co-op’s fund-raising campaign will begin shortly.  Watch for details and think about how you can participate. 

 

The co-op can’t happen unless each of us takes a role.  Look for details soon.

 

WHY JOIN THE GREAT RIVER CO-OP?

  • You can share in the co-op’s profits. 
  • You can help bring much-needed foodstore competition to our region.
  • You’ll shop at a community market stocked every day with meat and produce raised right here.
  • You’ll help strengthen and expand local agriculture and protect open land.
  • You’ll shop at a family-friendly store that won’t stock sugary cereals at kids’ eye level, stack candy bars by the cash registers, or have what retailers call a “Mommy, I want” aisle filled with impulse purchases.
  • You’ll have a say in the products the store carries.
  • You can have a voice in governing the co-op.
  • The co-op’s profits stay in our community.
  • You can help to develop community education programs through the co-op.
  • Joining now can make it possible. Your memberships and donations will give the co-op additional capital and demonstrate the community support this initiative needs to stay on track.

UPDATE

Due to an increase in his workload, Rob Kasper has resigned from the co-op's board of directors.  We thank him for his long-standing service to the co-op and his tremendous help in achieving our goals to this point.  Rob has donated his legal work and expertise, he was instrumental in developing our agreement with the Monadnock Economic Development Corporation, and he has been and remains a champion of the co-op in the Great River community.  We deeply appreciate his good work.  Thanks, Rob!

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TWO MORE REASONS TO LOVE YOUR CO-OP.

A message from member-owner Minna Good:

Upgrading my membership from one share to a full voting membership of four shares was something I’d been meaning to do for the last couple of years but something always "came up".  But now is the time for all of us, including myself, to upgrade.  We all need to support our local farmers and to help create a year-round market that features produce and food products created locally.  It is getting close to the time for our dreams to come to fruition.  The more of us who upgrade our memberships, the quicker the co-op becomes a reality.  So I urge all of my fellow member-owners of the Great River Co-op to become voting members, if you are not already, by purchasing a total of four shares.

See the latest progress in store design.  Click here.

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