When does 807=810+819+824? When Chicago Market Owner #807 Melissa Sanchez joins the co-op and promptly recruits her mom, her aunt and her sister!
Melissa first heard about the co-op from her cousin Emily Crespo, who’s a Chicago Market board member. “I asked a lot of questions. I have two boys and I want to help them make healthy choices. Our family background is very traditional and our cooking does not always emphasize eating healthy. In other grocery stores, I feel intimidated about trying new foods because there’s no education or community aspect to help you. I know Chicago Market will be different, and I’m excited that as an Owner I get to have a say in what we’ll see there!”
“Then I talked to my mom about it,” she says. “She’s just retired and she wants to give back to her community and she saw that supporting a co-op by becoming an Owner was a really good place to start.”
We all struggle sometimes with how to ask our family, friends, neighbors to join the co-op. What’s Melissa’s advice?
“I never think about recruiting new owners like ‘a sale,’ she says. “Building a co-op is providing a service and an opportunity. I’m passionate about it and when I share that it opens doors.” To start the conversation, “I showed my mom Chicago Market’s website on my phone, went to the Facebook site and watched a video there. That helped us start talking.”
“Then,” she laughs, “once my mom was in, well, I have nine aunts and a big family here and we got everyone talking about it. My sister has a daughter who’s 10 months old, she wants to learn more about healthy foods for her family. My aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago, and she is making healthy lifestyle changes too. And all of us think it’s a great way to do good things for others in our community.”
Melissa’s already shared a #whatsyourblueprint idea with us for what she’d like to see in our co-op store. “Recipes, handed out at the front of the store!” she says. “Something I can carry with me that tells me what’s healthy and what’s in season and how to make it, so I don’t have to do so much research on my own to figure it out.”
We love Melissa’s recipe for growing Chicago Market: Take 1 co-op Owner, add a pinch of passion and a dash of information – stir up a conversation, and voilà! You’ve grown our honest food community. Share your own “growing Owners” tips with us – as well as ideas for what you’d like to see in your dream grocery store, by emailing us or sharing on our Facebook page!