We formed the Louisville Association for Community Economics (LACE) to foster the growth of community-owned initiatives in Louisville. We believe cooperative economics can transform our community, and the Louisville Community Grocery is our first project.
Want to learn more about cooperative economics? Visit our online Cooperative Education center.
Members of LACE are individuals from all backgrounds of life and areas of Louisville who believe the community should be at the center of our social and economic systems. By joining LACE you can support our mission to open a community-owned grocery store in Louisville by bringing your unique talents and strengths.
Become a member of LACE by submitting your application online or by printing the membership application and returning it in-person at our monthly meeting or by mailing the application and your check to us.
Suggested membership to LACE is $20, but memberships are accepted on a sliding scale from $5 and up. Please make checks payable to “Louisville Association for Community Economics” and include your name, address, and telephone number with your donation.
The Structure of LACE
LACE is led by a dedicated leadership team, with experiences ranging from cooperative business to community development to urban agriculture.
Our members include community activist, business men and women, students, teachers, and farmers – and we strive to make LACE a welcoming place for all people.
When you join LACE you have the opportunity to join a specific committee that matches your interests and strengths.
Membership and Governance
This committee works on determining the co-op membership structure as well as the general governance structure for our cooperative.
Some tasks of the Membership and Governance committee include:
- Establish a board of directors that will act as trustees on behalf of the members, monitoring finances, making sure the co-op follows its bylaws, policies, and appropriate regulations. This includes nominating a president, vice president, secretary and treasurer to organize and coordinate their work.
- Ensure sound management of the co-op. The board is responsible for hiring and supervising supervising the co-op’s management.
- Set long-range goals and plan for the co-op’s future.
- Establish and implement a simple yet sustainable membership system, in compliance with local regulations and cooperative bylaws.
This committee shares the evolving vision for the co-op with neighbors, media, and community groups around Louisville.
Some tasks of the Community Outreach committee include:
- Media / PR- Get interviews and write stories, op-eds, and press releases for all kinds of local media.
- Go to events and meet people.
- Distribute our survey [link to survey landing page] widely among potential members and review returns to see if we are reaching our target market.
- Recruit members to join as charter members (“charter” members are members that invest prior to the physical establishment of the co-op).
- Manage social media and email lists.
Market Research and Real Estate
This committee works on researching the future home of the co-op with local and professional organizations that specialize in market research and real estate.
Some tasks of the Market Research and Real Estate committee include:
- Commission a professional location and site analyst with expertise in food co-op development to research the best place in our area for a retail co-op.
- Ideally finding an organization that support the values of the co-op, including serving the underserved.
- Use the results of the feasibility and market study to learn about needs and shopping patterns of the prospective customers.
- Explore options for leasing, owning, building new, or remodeling a site.
- Set minimum retail square footage needed to support demographic feasibility.
- Choose one or two people to handle site search and real estate negotiations.
- Negotiate a lease or purchase agreement.
- Create an initial site plan and store design.
- Get preliminary approval from the city for the plans.
- Begin the bidding selection process for an architect and building contractors.
- Hire a project manager to oversee implementation after a site has been secured.
Finance and Fundraising
This committee is responsible for identifying the best mechanisms to raise and organize capital.
Financing for the cooperative will come from local and national sources. We are raising money through membership shares, grassroots fundraising, private and public investments, private and public grants and loans, member loans, and other sources, including crowdfunding.
Support the Louisville Community Grocery
Not ready to join LACE but still want to support the Louisville Community Grocery initiative? Visit our Get Involved page to learn more about opportunities to engage with us and the community.
You can also support the community grocery by donating directly to the project. Once the cooperative becomes incorporated, your donation can apply towards your ownership investment!