Democratically owned by you, the customer.
A message for our owners from Sharon Hoyer, General Manager.
Over the last several weeks, I’ve had some great in-depth conversations with friends and co-op owners about the Dill Pickle expansion project, usually prompted by someone I’ve run into asking how things are going at work, and how the expansion is coming along. Through a combination of genuine interest and my tendency to overshare, that unassuming question opens up lengthy conversations about farming practices and distribution, the price of food, fair wages, and how a democratically governed business differs from your Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, or Mariano’s. And, because my mind (along with all the Dill Pickle leadership) is on raising the capital we need to get this new store open, these conversations have increasingly centered around what we mean when we talk about equity, why owner loans are important and, more often than not, me reminding the person I’m talking to at some point in the conversation that we’re seeking investment, not donations, not gifts. Money you get back. With interest.
A lot more than coolers and shelving go into building a food co-op; information infrastructure is just as important to running a successful store. The technology in our current store consists of two register lanes, one desktop computer, and a handful of laptops and tablets set on any available horizontal surface we can find. The Milwaukee location will need a system of networked workstations, data lines, phones (with extensions! Yippee!), an honest-to-goodness sound/intercom system and the communications and financial systems to go with it. We're also upgrading to a point of sale system suited to higher sales and capable of more detailed reporting. And, thanks to our support contract with the National Co-op Grocers, we just received an assessment of our current IT and finance systems and detailed plans to implement in our new store. We're so excited to put these in action, improving the way we communicate with each other, our vendors and our customers!Read more...
This summer is about people power. Together we've raised $550,000 to build a more sustainable store-- offering more good food at lower prices with seating, event space and parking. We've secured a site, completed structural work and schematic design, and entered the permitting process. We're on track to open the doors at 2746 N Milwaukee in early 2017. But we haven’t yet secured funding to begin construction.
To move forward, we need an additional $360k in community capital by August 31. The future of our cooperative enterprise will unfold over the next 8 weeks. Here's how you can help us succeed:
Owner Loan Campaign: $1 Million by May 15!
Springtime is the season of new growth-- a beautiful time to be building our new grocery store at 2746 North Milwaukee! Our General Manager and her team are working hard to conceptually mold 10,000 square feet of raw space into expanded departments, a deli & beverage bar, a multipurpose room, and auto/bike parking to meet our community's needs. Now is your chance to invest directly in our capacity to increase access to sustainable, fair food-- and to support the local folks producing it!
This Spring Owner Loan Campaign is an important opportunity to demonstrate community commitment to our co-op's future. Reaching our $1 million goal through $600k in new owner loans this spring will be a strong show of confidence to our partners at Shared Capital Cooperative and the Chicago Community Loan Fund, who'll help us meet the total project budget. Here's our path forward:
Project 2746 is a weekly event series building cooperative community in the Dill Pickle’s future home on Thursdays from 6-7:30pm. Come check out the space and stay to see what we're up to:
4/7: Invest in Your Values: a conversation on alternatives to traditional market investments with the Center for Changing Lives
3/31: Brews, 'Booch & the Board: swing by to chat with co-op directors about expansion plans, sample some locally brewed bevs, and see your owner loans at work! We've got an updated floor plan to share!
3/21: A MUSICAL NIGHT w/ THE MAGICAL BEASTS: Ethan Pikas, pedal steel & banjo // Sharon Hoyer, vocals // Cara Sawyer, horn & vocals // Nathan Paulus, guitar & tunes // John Herbst, uke & banjo // Josh Miller, bass.
3/17: ART IN THE NEW SPACE! Draw, paint, sketch, and create. We provide the art supplies and snacks, you provide the talent!
3/10: GROW WITH US! Learn 'Soil Truthing' with Nance Klehm of The Ground Rules (bring a soil sample from your garden!) // Seed-starting with Lora Lode of Monticello Community Garden & Neighbor-Space // 'Bee Informed’ with Michael Thompson of Chicago Honey Co-op!/
2/25: HAPPY HOUR w/ Begyle Brewing!
Help our co-op grow! Learn more about our Owner Loan Campaign.