In the last month, Granite City Grocery's volunteer board has taken some pretty serious steps towards moving out of the "organizing phase" and into the "planning/feasibility phase". The only way we have been able to move from one to the next is to work hard on building the vision, talent, capital and systems. And, we've done it! We are now officially in Stage 2!
So, here is the report:
MARKET STUDY/FEASIBILITY: In mid-July, we received our market study from Dakota Worldwide that illustrates and analyzes the market opportunity, competitive landscape, and appropriateness of the 7 sites that we had identified as potential sites. This was the first step toward building our business plan and the precursor to feasibility. The next step has already been taken. We have hired two top notch consultants from CDS Consulting - one is a feasibility/ pro forma financial consultant who will help us run numbers and test various scenarios at the top sites identified by the market study. The other is a start-up consultant who will be our guide and advisor in all things co-op for the next year, e.g. first owner meeting, designing and implementing a capital campaign, and negotiating on locations.
WHERE WILL WE LOCATE? So many people are asking where we will locate. We know you want to know where we will locate. Not only do we not have the answer yet, but we are keeping any and all information about potential sites under wraps so that we can effectively negotiate with landlords/property owners when the time comes. We can say with confidence however, that the site we choose will be walkable within the downtown, accessible with sufficient parking, large enough to accommodate variety and selection that Barre wants and needs, and sustainable (we need to be able to afford it!).
Some people have asked the question, "How can we ask people to become owners if we haven't chosen a site yet?" The best answer is this: How can we shop for our home without resources and support? Just like any homebuyer, we are in no position to negotiate on a site without sufficient equity (in the case of a co-operative, owner equity). We think that number is 600 or $120,000 in the bank. Thankfully, there are enough of you (shout out to 650 pledges!) out there comfortable enough with the broad parameters we have set out with our vision, mission, and values to take the leap of faith. Others, understandably, want more information before they commit. Some will wait until we announce a site, still others when we announce our General Manager, and still others when we open our doors and afterwards! They will be welcome when they are ready!
OUR PLAN FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR: In a nutshell, the next five months will be spent:
- turning 650 pledges into actual owners
- holding our first owner meeting
- electing a board and approving bylaws
- completing a business plan
- securing 550 more pledges.
If we are successful in meeting those goals by December 2013, we will be in a position to negotiate on a site this winter!
Questions? Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me, Emily Kaminsky, at 802-279-7518!