Time and Talent
When we open our doors we will employ many people; but to get to that stage, we rely on volunteers every step of the way. You may be aware of the earlier “working member” co-op model where member-owners provided volunteer hours to their co-op or, in some cases, were required to do so. This model is not used with new co-ops; instead we will hire employees who receive competitive wages and benefits. However, until we can start hiring, we rely mainly on volunteers. Now is the time volunteers are most needed to get our doors open. Our development efforts are sustained by enthusiastic volunteers who put in countless hours of time and talent. In 2017, dozens of individual volunteers gave more than 3000 hours of their combined time. They are the reason we are so far along in our growth – kudos to them! If you wish to join in volunteering this year, please contact me.
A Growing Community
This was our biggest year for membership growth. 2017 saw an increase of 227 new owners! We had our largest individual month of membership growth in June with 78 new member-owners. That’s a 58% increase from the previous June! More important than numbers, however is the fact that our Co-op community is growing and more people across the Cedar Valley are learning about and supporting our efforts. In fact, we now have owners from 39 cities in Iowa and more than 10 states. 75% of our ownership comes from Cedar Falls, and almost 10% comes from Waterloo. Waverly and Denver combined represent 5% of our member-owners. This support shows that the Cedar Valley is ready for a grocery store that supports local producers, healthy and sustainable foods and other products, and community-based events.
Stellar Campaigns and Events
From our new yard signs to our kayak giveaway to our presence at a variety of community events across the Cedar Valley, your Co-op friends have been busy planning campaigns and events that spread the word and further our business goals. Your Co-op is here already in the Cedar Valley community whether a group of us is volunteering at a Habitat for Humanity build, communing at one of our monthly potlucks, or gathering for a book club discussion. Don’t forget to keep checking our Facebook page, which has the most updated event and campaign information. Our next event is on January 21 at Second State Brewing in Cedar Falls. Join us for our Plus One Member Mixer from 4 – 6 p.m. All are welcome!
Fabulous Member-owner Discounts
Our business partner program has grown significantly this year, with more than 65 businesses throughout the Cedar Valley providing discounts to member-owners! What does your $200 investment in a member-share give you? Besides the opportunity to be a founding member-owner with a vote and a voice on the front-end regarding how the Co-op will look and run, you also get discounts at restaurants and specialty food shops, other co-ops and health stores, chiropractors and holistic health practitioners, yoga and pilates, retail businesses and so much more. Check out all of our discounts via our business partners right here. Don’t forget to carry your member-owner card in order to take advantage of these deals.
As someone who has been with this start-up from the beginning, I continue to be inspired and amazed by everything we have accomplished. While there is more work to be done, now that we are in the final stages of development, I can visualize our storefront more vividly. I envision how much it will contribute to this region as I continue to experience the energy and enthusiasm this community has for bringing a cooperative grocery store to the Cedar Valley.
Thank you all for your continued support.