Good news in cooperative store development! North Carolina has a new cooperative grocery store in Burlington. Company Shops Market (http://companyshopsmarket.coop/) opened in June and is busily selling groceries. Check out their website, visit their store—we wish them great success.
This month we begin a regular short newsletter feature on the current state of affairs surrounding our work to develop the store on Mangum Street. Our primary focus right now continues to be on finding a commercial loan to finance the lion’s share of the project—somewhere around 60% of the total cost. I’m learning a lot about just how difficult the lending/borrowing environment is these days.
Banks have swung from overly permissive lending to overly restrictive, in part because of the losses they continue to suffer and in part because of heavy regulation by “the feds,” which in turn is over-reacting to the more permissive lending of just a handful of years past.
All of which is to say, getting a loan for $2.3 million isn’t easy.
If you recall buying a new car and then seeing them everywhere, looking for funding is something like that. It seems like every day I hear of another potential, unconventional way to fund the project.
If you have some insights about financing the project, please don’t hesitate to send me an email at email@example.com. Ideas for financing our market are greatly welcomed!
We continue to talk to banks, and we’re exploring other sources for this large piece of our financing needs. I attended the Consumers’ Cooperative Marketing Association conference in June to attend workshops and meet with key individuals working in the cooperative store development. To pay for the trip to San Diego I led two of the workshops. It was a valuable trip and fun to boot.
Most other site issues are on hold for the moment. We’re helping the property owner, who lives in New York City, get quotes for cleaning up the amazing thicket on the west side of the site. That’s relatively small progress—the big (and expensive) steps forward like getting an Environmental Phase II report and site design are on hold while we search for the funding.
Thanks to Durham Food Co-op’s generosity we have substantial operating funds for now, and have entirely sequestered all of the investment funds we’re receiving from owners. Those funds will continue to be sequestered until we have enough financing to confidently move forward.
Stay tuned for further updates in upcoming newsletters.