One of the first things we have done is to contract with the Northwest Cooperative Development Center (NWCDC) in Olympia to develop an economic feasibility study for us. This study will help us view our expansion plans from the standpoint of what we can afford and what we can expect from a larger store.
The NWCDC has a long history of consulting with business using the cooperative business model and come highly recommended by the Cooperative Development Services organization which is probably the premier coop consulting group in the US. It was after a long conversation with one of their consultants, and following their recommendation, that we began working with the NWCDC.
Our planned date of completion is the end of June 2011 and at that time we will have a better idea of what we can do within our present financial resources and what external resources we might need. These could include member loans, grants, member stock sales or loans.
The NWCDC plan will include the assumption that we want a store area of about 4,000 square feet which would include at least 1,000 sq ft for warehousing along with admin space and food preparation space. Retail space would be about 2,500 sq ft which is a bit more than triple what we have now.
Keep watching here as we post reports on developments.
2012 – A Year of Change!
The Co-op members have approved a sweeping change in our organizational structure and in our membership structure.
We are filing for the federal non-profit status known as 501(c)(3) which will allow us to do many more things than we could have in the old for-profit structure. We will also have more flexibility in funding and in our ability to operate the Farmers Market that is planned for the Spring of this year.
Membership will now become annual with General Membership at $40.00/year and Working Member Membership at $20.00/year. In addition, Working Members will receive a 20% discount on store purchases up to a value of $100 for every 6 hours worked.
There will be an additional Wine Buy Club Membership which will be $20.00/year and offers only the benefits of that program.
We have been keeping our members informed with regular blog posts so be sure to check them out for the latest news.