I am pleased to share that our co-op’s expansion project has been awarded the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding worth about $500,000 that we applied for back in December. This grant will reduce Monadnock Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)’s capital requirements to finance the construction costs of our co-op’s expansion into the vacant lot to the east of our current store. Not only will the grant funds help MEDC finance the project, but it will translate to a lower more affordable lease rate for us. I am so grateful for the partnership with MEDC, they helped us enormously with our existing store in 2013 and have been a great resource in planning our expansion.
The purpose of this grant is to support economic development and job creation that primarily benefits low to moderate income people, and if we can expand our current store as we hope, we expect to create 25 full-time equivalent jobs. Our co-op has steadily grown our base of employees from 58 to almost 100 over the last five years and could employ 130 members of our community by 2020!
While the grant will focus on reducing the overall construction costs of our project, our co-op will still have significant expenses of our own that we will need to finance, such as new equipment and inventory in the expanded space.
We are working hard toward our goal of selling more locally produced food, offering a wider selection of healthy and sustainable options, and reducing our prices with increased purchasing power through this expansion. Our management team is currently exploring floor plan options with consultants from National Co-op Grocers, and exploring the option to finance our growth through a Member Loan Campaign along with our Board of Directors.
Please watch our email newsletters and website for new developments. I couldn’t be more proud to wish our entire co-op community a Happy Fifth Birthday!
Michael Faber, General Manager