Have you noticed something special is happening with Chicago Market? Perhaps you read an email or you’ve seen postings on social media about our Owner Loan Campaign? It would be perfectly reasonable for you to be aware of our capital campaign and still wonder what it is and why bother doing it?
Co-ops all over the US do owner capital campaigns as part of their financing for projects. Established co-ops do campaigns to finance new stores, expansions, relocations and renovations and all co-op startups use owner loan campaigns as an essential part of their funding plan. But why go to so much trouble to raise money this way?
One simple reason is – we have to. Grocery stores are expensive and complex businesses. Refrigeration equipment is custom made for the application – dairy, meat, cheese, frozen foods etc. Point of sales systems, computer networks, heating and cooling systems designed to keep the shopper comfortable while also protecting the food are all expensive and essential. And we want to offer fair wages to our employees. In the competitive world of grocery retail, we need our stores to look good, work well, and be efficient and reliable and we can’t achieve all that without spending a lot of money. And banks or credit unions won’t loan us all we need, nor can we afford to pay the interest rates we’d be charged.
But another reason for using owner capital is – we want to. If it’s going to take a lot of money to start our Co-op, and we’re going to be paying interest on that money no matter where we get it, why not keep the money in our community and give our Co-op Owners the chance to earn a fair rate of return, while also investing their money in something they own, use and enjoy – their local grocery store!
And it works. Co-ops have raised millions of dollars, all over the country, including co-ops in small towns, rural areas and big urban centers. This money goes to strengthen and enlarge the cooperative economy, which operates on principles of justice, equity and fairness rather than exploitation and extraction. Our co-ops, and the money invested in them, help improve our communities, country and world in a way that very few investments do.
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Owners, contact our Owner Loan Campaign coordinator Jessica to learn more: email [email protected]
Jen Vest, lender, Owner #532, former Board member