Help the Montavilla Food Co-op, it’s member-owners and community, in raising $20,000 to cover the Market & Feasibility study costs!!
Back in August 2009, some neighbors in Montavilla, an old neighborhood in east Portland, started to dream about the fate of a vacant building on SE Stark Street. If we were in charge, what would we want to see there?
Some dreamed of a brewpub. Others, a tasty breakfast joint.
As they talked more, one idea in particular stood out: a co-operative grocery store.
People were really excited about the idea of starting a community-owned grocery in Montavilla. Together they learned about the steps involved in forming a co-operative grocery store and shared ideas about what they envsioned. Some saw a space where neighbors could gather and create community. Others dreamed about seed swaps, community canning kitchens, and a year-round place where residents could access fresh, local, sustainable food and groceries. Ultimatly the goal was to open a cooperative grocery store front, in the interium the community would come together through a food buying club, seed swaps and other events that would help foster the growth of the Montavilla Food Co-op.
In just a few years, we have moved from "just talk" to action as we work together to build our co-op. Our Board of Directors has been elected and we are working in cooperation with the 3 other co-ops in Portland. Food Front Co-op donated $1500 specifically for the Market & Feasability study as they understand the importance it plays in obtaining greatly needed financing. People's Co-op has given an incredible amount of support, direction and knowledge to our team, while Alberta Co-op has also offered support and funding.
Bringing a good food store to Montavilla is more important then ever. As this neighborhood continues to see large grocery chains leave for areas with higher profits, a cooperatively owned grocery store will anchor the community while increasing access to local foods. Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) ran a series on food insecuirity and recently ran this story on food deserts east of 82nd street in Portland, OR. OPB: East of 82nd: Raising a Child in a Food Desert. We know there is a need but in order to get funding from lenders we must prove it through a Market & Feasibility Study.
We hope you'll join us!
We are serious about opening a store front, but first we need to prove that our plans are solid, and our possible locations are good for business! That's where the Market & Feasibility Study comes in!
Montavilla Food Co-op aims to enhance the quality of life for both residents and visitors by providing access to affordable, healthy food in an environment shaped by the community's values. We envision a cooperative; an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise. The co-op is owned by its member-owners and influenced by what is best for our community. Montavilla Food Co-op is based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. In the tradition of their founders, co-operative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others. Furthermore we follow the 7 cooperative principles.
These principles are guidelines by which co-operatives put their values into practice successfully as a socially driven business and community asset.
1st Principle: Voluntary and Open Membership
2nd Principle: Democratic Member Control
3rd Principle: Member Economic Participation
4th Principle: Autonomy and Independence
5th Principle: Education, Training and Information
6th Principle: Co-operation among Co-operatives
7th Principle: Concern for Community
If you can't help us financially but feel inspired, please share our story with anyone and everyone you know. Share and like Montavilla Food Co-op on Facebook, Twitter or share us through e-mail and good old fashion word of mouth!! Check out our website to see how you can donate time to our great collective effort!
Thank you for taking the time to read our story, learn about our project, and most of all for your pledge!! Without you, co-op supporters and member-owners, we could not build this amazing community owned grocery store!
About our Team! Our crowdfunding team is a bunch of enthusiastic, energetic and passionate cooperators. They have their hands in a little bit of everything, loving their communities and the power of cooperatives to enrich and create quality, equitable communities and dignified jobs.
Michelle Week is an enthusiastic Co-op supporter. She is currently serving on People’s Food Co-ops Board of Directors in Portland, Or. She’s an avid cyclist, occasionally co-leading Co-op bike tours and races cyclocross. She’s been active in co-ops as a hands on owner and volunteer for the last four years. She is also involved with the USA Co-op Youth committee, an “all-volunteer, youth-led committee seeking to foster greater youth engagement in the US and beyond.” Additionally Michelle is currently earning a certificate in Cooperative Business Development from CooperationWorks! She also has a soft spot for adorable bunnies.
Ben Cutler works as an Account Representative for the region’s largest distributor of organic produce, Organically Grown Company, a grower and employee owned company. He lived in and worked for the housing cooperative sector during the late 90’s/ early 00’s, serving on the board of directors of the Students’ Cooperative Association in Eugene, Oregon and on the board of the North American Students’ of Cooperation (NASCO). Ben has a strong commitment to the cooperative movement, healthy foods and a vibrant community. He is looking forward to the many years of service for the Montavilla Food Cooperative.
Amanda Ryan is a chef and farm and food advocate that is working to change what people eat. She teaches cooking and nutrition classes with the Oregon Food Bank's Nutrition Education program as she feels everyone should know how to cook and eat healthfully. She is serving as the President of the Montavilla Food Co-op as she wants to be part of bringing a cooperative food store to an area of Portland that is in great need of increased access to food. She believes the co-op model is one that works because of the democratic member control that gives a voice to the members that own it.
What’s in the Feasibility & Market Study?
A formal market study
A community survey
Supplier and vendor assessment
Evaluation of available talent, both for organizing and operations
Financial budgets and projections
Availability of capital and willingness of members and lenders to invest
Why a Feasibility & Market Study?
A Feasibility & Market research study are important in depth research components that is included in the business plan and can help with financial projections, minimize risks, maximize success as well as aid in adequate planning and foresight.
The study also helps to add legitimate impartial data that determines whether adequate demand exists for your proposed co-op’s products/services.
The study determines and underscores the soundness and success of your new co-op.
If the study indicates faults or problems we are given time to fix these costly mistakes before spending time and money on opening a faulty co-op.
The study is also used when presenting to lenders along with our by-laws, business plan and other supporting documentation when we are looking to raise additional funds to open our Food Co-op! The study is a great document that the lenders and our community can trust to show us the real success our food co-op will experience!
Why does it cost so much?
We could do it ourselves but it is always a good idea to hire an outside expert who’ll be an impartial conductor of the research. They can take all data analysis without bias and determine the soundness of our cooperative. An outside consultant will also have all the connections and access to associations who have information and research about food co-ops. They’ll also be sure not to miss a component of the study.
What is a co-op?
Co-ops are an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprises. This can take many forms, Montavilla Food Co-op will be a consumer owned model in which the patrons of the business are also it’s Owners.
How will we use the money?
$10,000-15,000 go towards the Market and Feasibility study, paying the consultant conducting the survey, their food, travel and boarding. An additional 6% fee is assessed by Indiegogo when we are successfully funded, approximatly $600 will be paid for processing and hosting of this campaign. If we do not reach our goal in our chosen time frame we’ll pay a 9% fee. All additional monies raised will go towards promotional materials and start up costs of the cooperative.
What is Crowdfunding?
Crowdfunding through indiegogo.com or Kickstarter.com is a way to raise money through incentives and inclusion on the internet. It is also a fun, interactive new twist on the fundraiser thermometer of past. With just a few quick clicks a participant can pledge money and choose a reward and feel great knowing they are part of a community, whether that community is located in Portland Oregon or becoming part of the community of co-op supporters from around the world! Through hosting on indiegogo, our campaign becomes accessible to people around the world to learn, watch and support great work internationally. Cooperatives are a worldwide success and movement, why not also make every co-op a worldwide success as well?!
Why Indiegogo over Kickstarter?
We chose Indiegogo because they offer more flexibility on a similar and familiar platform. If we do not reach our goal we can still receive what funds were pledged, at this time anything helps! We are also allowed to sell equity in the business and as a member-owner cooperative we are happy to extend some extra perks and thanks to our member-owners and further incentivise to those yet to become member-owners to do so.