$5 Million!! We did it!

 

 

Customers, Community Members Make Personal Investments in River Valley Co-op’s Easthampton Store Project Exceeding $5 Million Goal

River Valley Co-op announced today that customers and community members stepped forward to make personal investments to support the retail grocery cooperatives second store project in Easthampton, MA. Over 300 co-op owners made $5,164,000 in loans, exceeding the co-op’s goal of $5 million.

River Valley Co-op, a community owned retail grocery in Northampton specializing in fresh locally produced foods, presented plans for the new store located at 228 Northampton Street  to the Easthampton Planning Board for approval earlier this year. The plans incorporated the existing Captain Jack’s Seafood Shack as part of the new development The proposed 22,000 sq. ft. store with 200 parking spaces shaded with a solar power-generating canopy received special permit approval on March 19th.  The co-op launched its $5 million capital campaign a few days later on March 23rdand succeeded in surpassing its goal on June 30th.

Jade Barker, Board Member and Chair of the Co-op Owner Loan Committee said, “$5 million is quite a vote of confidence! The enthusiasm for River Valley Co-op opening this new store has been palpable. We are both deeply grateful and inspired to get this much community support!”

Board Member and Co-op Owner Loan Committee Member Alex Risley Schroeder added, “In conversations with owners there was such enthusiasm and eagerness for a second store. This energy and endorsement is as important as good blueprints and the right building materials.”

Barker explained that throughout the co-op’s history, co-op owners have invested in the co-op: first to build and open the store in 2008, and then to support its ongoing evolution and growth.  River Valley Co-op is open to the public and its customers are eligible to join by investing to become co-op owners.Since the co-op opened in 2008, nearly 11,000 people have invested $150, (a one time investment, not an annual fee), to become owners of the co-op. The concept for consumer owned cooperatives is to fund a community owned business with a little money from a lot of people. Several hundred of River Valley Co-op’s owners have been both inspired and able to step forward at different times with extra owner loan investments when needed for its development.

Jade Barker said “Our community wants to support local farmers & businesses, wants more union jobs, wants community space that is sustainably stewarded, and wants more accessible local & organically grown food. And they want River Valley Co-op to open a second store in Easthampton to grow more of all these good things.”

Total development costs are projected to be about $17 million. Reaching the $5 million goal for investments from its owners puts the co-op in a position to move forward to finalize securing the additional economic development funding required to purchase the property, build and open the new store.  Construction is planned to start as soon as possible this fall.  Opening is anticipated for the fall of 2020.

River Valley Co-op staff member Wendy Messerli reflected on the project, “As a staff member working on this campaign, I have been so proud to work for a cooperative business that tangibly supports the circular economy with local farmers, food producers, union employees, consumers, renewable resources, and cooperative principles. Through many enthusiastic conversations with co-op owners, shoppers, lenders and non-lenders alike I’ve heard a symphony of voices that actively support and encourage our inclusive vision to transform an under-utilized space into a hub stewarded by the community that it nourishes."   

Dorian Gregory, Deputy Director of the Cooperative Fund of New England and River Valley Co-op Board Member said, “As a cooperative business, River Valley Co-op’s mission is about more than its bottom line. River Valleyhas been an incredible success and example of a local community customer-owned cooperative grocery business since it opened just 11 years ago.”

 

To date the co-op has purchased $46 million of products from 400 local farmers and producers, contributed nearly $1 million to area nonprofit organizations, offered hundreds of free workshops, and has a minimum starting hourly wage of $15 with 160 employees, 90% of them full time. The co-op’s workforce is represented by the UFCW Local 1459. The co-op looks forwards to serving the community even better by supporting more local farmers and producers along with adding 100 new jobs within five years of opening the store in Easthampton. For more information see: http://rivervalley.coop

 

As of June 30th, we hit our goal! We raised $5,164,000!!!

On behalf of everyone at the co-op, A HUGE heartfelt thank you!
 
 
 
June 26th Update: Only $58,000 away! 
Can you make a loan to help us cross the finish line today?

We are so close! Thank you so much for the awesome support for Expedition Easthampton! This is more money than we’ve ever raised and faster than we’ve ever raised it. Importantly, we wanted to let you know there is still time to participate!

Please let us know so we can send you the information. Email invest@rivervalley.coop, call us at (413) 486-0097 or stop by the customer service desk at the store to let us know you are interested in making a loan.
 

June 20 Update: Only $208,000 away! We have gone over $4.76 million!  Thank you so much for the awesome support for Expedition Easthampton! This is more money than we’ve ever raised and faster than we’ve ever raised it. Importantly, we wanted to let you know there is still time to participate! Reaching our goal of $5 million in Owner Loans will leverage the other funding we need to build and open our Easthampton store, including $4 million in economic development funding that will not need to be repaid.
 
 
June 7 Update: Our Co-op Owner Loan Total has reached $4.75 million. We are getting even closer to our goal.  Thank you for your support!
 

June 5th Update: Momentum on our Wild about Growing Local Co-op Owner Loan Campaign

THANK YOU to our owners who have loaned (or pledged to loan), and all of those who have cheered us on along the way.

We are very close to our $5 million goal and moving forward with our Easthampton store!

Over the past two months, we’ve had hundreds of enthusiastic, supportive and thoughtful conversations about the project to build a second co-op store in Easthampton. It has been encouraging to hear from so many of you! It’s clear that our community wants to support local farmers & businesses, wants more union jobs, wants a community space that is sustainably stewarded, and wants more accessible local & organically grown food. You can still help-- just 50 more co-op owner lenders are needed to reach our goal!

We have gone over $4.6 million! (This does include some pledges, which we expect most people to make good on soon.) This is more money than we’ve ever raised and faster than we’ve ever raised it. Importantly, we wanted to let you know there is still time to participate! Reaching our goal of $5 million in Owner Loans will leverage the other funding we need to build and open our Easthampton store, including $4 million in economic development funding that will not need to be repaid. Thank you so much for the awesome support for Expedition Easthampton!

We just need 50 more loans. Are you ready to hop on board?

If we don’t reach our goal very soon - it may push our construction start date back, our goal is late August or Early September. If that happens, we’ll lose important pre-winter conditions for construction, which could negatively impact construction costs and our opening timelines. At this point, we expect the project will still move forward, but we need more co-op owner support to keep our project on track. If we do not reach our goal, we will need to consider alternative options.

If you have questions about the project, owner loan terms or interest rates, please let us know so we can send you the information. Email invest@rivervalley.coop, call us at (413) 486-0097 or stop by the customer service desk at the store to let us know you are interested in making a loan.

If you’ve already asked for the info but didn’t receive it, please check your spam/junk mail folder, or let us know so we can make sure you receive it. Please make sure to review the subscription agreement and offering documents before making a loan.

There are three ways to complete your loan upon the decision to invest:

1.) Print (if you received an electronic version of the subscription agreement), sign, and return the Subscription Agreement with your check by USPS to:
River Valley Co-op
Attn: Finance
330 North King St.
Northampton, MA 01060

2) Drop off at the Co-op Customer Service Desk:
ask for the Manager-On-Duty to take your paperwork.

3) If none of the above work for you, please let us know by emailing invest@rivervalley.coop and we can set up an appointment with you!

Once you have submitted your loan:
You will receive an email confirming receipt of the check & paperwork.
In the following weeks, we will mail you a copy of the signed Subscription Agreement & Promissory Note.

We sincerely appreciate your time and consideration and we can’t wait to see you in the aisles in Easthampton!

 

Over $4.2 million raised! There is still time and we need your support now!

 

Do you have any more questions about our Loan Program? Email invest@rivervalley.coop, call (413) 486-0097, or stop by one of the Info & Signing Sessions listed below!

There are four ways to complete your loan upon the decision to invest:

I . Print, sign, and mail the Subscription Agreement with your check via USPS to: River Valley Co-op, ATTN: Finance,

330 North King St., Northampton, MAO I 060.

2. Drop it off at the co-op's Customer Service Desk and ask for the Manager-On-Duty to take your paperwork.

3. Stop by and complete your paperwork during one of the Info & Signing Session below:
➔ Friday, May 31, 10am-7pm

4. Contact us and we'll set up an appointment if none of the above work for you.

Thank you for your support on this project! If you would like to submit a loan but cannot get it in by May 31st please get in touch!

Did you catch Rochelle, General Manager and Jade, Board Member and Loan Chair Committee on the Bill Newman Show this talking about our Easthampton Project? Give it a listen and share now to help us meet our $5 million goal!

We’ve had so many people expressing interest in the last few days we will keep the investment open until May 31st so everyone who wants to participate has the opportunity.

 

Invest in our Wild About Growing Local! Co-op owner Loan campaign to help us open the Easthampton store

Can you help us open the Easthampton store?

Opening a store in Easthampton is the next step in the
co-op’s journey. It will help us serve our customers better, offer more employment opportunities for our staff, and move us forward in our shared aspirations for a growing local foods movement.

ABOUT CO-OP OWNER LOANS

Co-op owner loans are a type of “slow money” local investment. Co-op owner loans are as essential now for making the Easthampton store a reality, as they were in 2007 to make the Northampton store a reality. We are seeking economic development program financing that will enable our owner loans to leverage about $4 million in outside funding that will not need to be repaid. This is a way you can earn interest on an investment that makes every dollar of your financial support go even further for the co-op!

TERMS

Co-op owner loans are only available to River Valley Co-op owners now through May 31, 2019. To be eligible to participate in this offering, co-op owners must have joined the co-op before or as of Friday, March 22, 2019 and be bona fide residents of the state of Massachusetts.

 

• Minimum loan amount is $2,000 (maximum is $250,000)

• Simple interest is paid annually, principal is held until term maturity

• Co-op owner loans are unsecured and subordinate

• Lenders select terms from 7–10 years and interest rates:

  • Up to 3.5% on loans below $15,000
  • Up to 5% on loans of $15,000 and above
  • Up to 6% for loans of $10,000 and above at 10 year terms

TO MAKE A CO-OP OWNER LOAN

If you’re interested in making a co-op owner loan please contact Jade at invest@rivervalley.coop, call (413) 486-0097 or fill out form below for more information.

 

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