Louisville deserves a cooperative grocery

Let’s make it happen!
First, if you haven’t yet, take our survey and sign up for one of our committees, at www.tinyurl.com/loufoodcoop.

Second, if you’d like to find out more and receive updates, or get involved in the planning for the Louisville Food Co-op, send us an email at [email protected].

Third, come out to our next Louisville Food Co-op Community Meeting on July 11 at Western Library, in the Community Room. The address is 604 S. 10th Street and we’ll start at 5:30 and go until 7:30 p.m.

Every second Tuesday of the month from 5:30-6:30 p.m. will be the co-op’s community meeting where we work together, democratically, to make decisions about the co-op business and learn together what it takes to run a cooperatively-owned business. Then, from 6:30-7:30 p.m., the four (4) committees will meet. Any community member should feel free to sit in on any of the committee meetings and engage. And if you feel compelled, sign up to participate in the committee.

The Louisville Food Co-op Community Meetings will be the 2nd Tuesday of the month beginning with July 11th (Aug. 8, Sept. 12, Oct. 10, Nov. 14)

Here are some questions that have come up in the past…

Q: How many members do we need?

A: We think we need between 2000-3000 members to sustain the co-op, though we are still doing more research. Our initial goal is 1000 members and $1 million. Most of the capital to start the co-op will come from sources other than membership shares.

Q: How much will it cost to become a member-owner of the co-op?

A: Anyone will be welcome to shop whether they are a member-owner or not. People who are members will receive benefits and help make decisions. Based on research about other co-ops we think the price of the share will probably be between $100-$200. If you want to help us figure this out please join the Governance & Membership Committee.

Q : Are we hooked up to the National Cooperative Grocers Association ? or other similar organizations?

A: Yes! NCGA and several other organizations  have excellent resources. We love the How to Start a Food Co-op Guide from the Cooperative Grocers’ Information Network and are using it to navigate the process.

Q: Are we learning lessons from co-ops that have closed or have not had long-lasting success?

A: It is very important to us that we learn lessons from successful and unsuccessful cooperatives. Doing this research and preparing a feasibility study will help us tremendously though it makes for a longer process. One of the lessons we have learned from other co-ops that are having trouble getting off the ground, is that we need to focus on raising membership and capital before looking too hard at locations or real estate. Other initiatives struggle when they focus on a specific location

The more people who get involved and help move it forward, the sooner we will have a co-op that avoids others’ pitfalls and emulates others’ successes. Take our survey and sign up for one of our committees, at www.tinyurl.com/loufoodcoop

Q: Any possibility of locating at the Heritage West site in Russell?

A: As mentioned in the previous question, we are not tied to any specific location yet, but we were chosen as one of the four projects being considered for the 24 acres of Heritage West.

Q: What do you mean by “Downtown” location?

A: The neighborhoods we have been considering are urban neighborhoods where New Roots has been successful organizing cooperative purchasing at the Fresh Stop Markets, and where neighbors have few shopping options. Smoketown/Shelby Park and westward are areas of highest interest, though there seems to be interest from Germantown as well.

Q: How far along are we in leadership training, documenting, and identifying resources?

A: We are not very far along and we have a lot of work to do! If you are interested please join one of the committees and move the effort along: Governance & Membership; Finance & Fundraising; Market & Real Estate Research; Community Outreach; and the Steering Committee. Fill out the form at the bottom of this page & tell us what you’re interested in!

Q: How can city government be helpful?

A: City officials are aware of our campaign and we are talking with Louisville Forward about ways they can help. This campaign will move much faster if we can hire an project manager!

Q: Can we merge producer & consumer cooperatives into one operation?

A: That may be a model to consider since producers also need a wholesale distribution center. We might also consider  worker-owned and union co-operative models.

Q: Could this work as a corner store model? In our historic urban neighborhoods, like Russell, many corners were retail outlets and are still zoned commercial.

A: All this is open for exploration- Market Research committee has its work cut out for it!

Q: Should everyone in the room read Collective Courage by Jessica Gordon Nembhard, about the history of African American Cooperatives?

A: Yes!

Yes! I’m interested in the Louisville Food Co-op and I want to know more:


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