From the Board President: 9 Things about the Co-op You Probably Didn’t Know

“How many members do we have now?” is a question I’m asked frequently (729 as of writing this). The number of member-owners is a gauge; it helps tell the story of how close we are to opening our doors. But there are other numbers that also tell the story of the Cedar Falls Food Co-op. In the spirit of the “Love Your Co-op” month, let’s dive into some of them. How many of these do you know?


Last year, scores of volunteers contributed over $84,000 worth of in-kind and volunteer hours to the efforts of the Co-op. Members and friends of the Co-op baked pies, staffed booths, marched at Sturgis, and much more. Special kudos to your Co-op Board of Directors. We love our volunteers!


Of the approximately $3 million that the Co-op needs to secure to open its doors, roughly 24% of that will come from traditional financing. (Co-op member-owners will contribute roughly 50% of the start-up costs.) Already, three banks in the area have expressed interest in our efforts. We love our local banks!


The number of business in the Cedar Valley (and beyond) that have pledged to support the Co-op by offering Co-op members discounts at their stores. From coffee to chiropractors, from gifts to brews, and from remodelers to restaurants…local businesses are showing love for our effort. We love our business partners!


Did you know the City of Cedar Falls has a strategic plan? Called “Future Forward 2025,” the plan outlines 15 specific goals. Number 5 on the list: “Sustainable local foods co-op in Downtown Cedar Falls.” We love this forward thinking city!


This is the number of parking spots we’re going to need after opening the store. Or, to be clear, it’s 6 parking spots per 1,000 sq ft of retail space. Retail space will take approximately 65% of our total space (the rest is for storage, offices, restrooms, and other behind the scenes stuff). Once we know how big the store will be (somewhere between 8,000 and 12,000 sq ft), we’ll know how many parking spots to secure, but for now we just call it ‘6.’


Right now there are 40 active committee members helping steer us towards the finish line. If you know anyone serving on the Communications, Finance, Membership, Investment, or Operations Teams, tell them how much you love them!


Food co-ops specialize in buying from local farmers and producers. On average, food co-ops in the US buy from 106 local producers like bee keepers, coffee makers, farmers, brewers, bakers, ranchers, and more. Imagine the impact one store could have on the local economy. We love community investment!


Of course, the Co-op’s efforts aren’t taking place in a vacuum. We’re among over 125 co-ops across the country right now that are in development to open a community-grown grocery store. They, and we, are aided by the help of consultants. Let’s give some co-op love to CDS Consulting, Food Cooperative Initiative, and Dakota Worldwide for their help of the Cedar Falls Food Co-op! (Of course, this list of consultants does not include all the other established and start up food co-ops that have also helped along the way. P6 love to them!)


Okay, so there’s only one Rooty, the affable and quick-to-dance carrot mascot of the Co-op. But did you know that 19 co-op members have donned the costume at events around the Cedar Valley? Do you know any of them? Do you want to be #20? If so, we’ll show you the love!


If you want more information on any of these numbers, or you just want me to double check my math, send me an email. In the meantime what are ways YOU love the Co-op? Tell us.

In cooperation,

Tom Wickersham


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