Help Us Grow
Greetings and gratitudes!
If you have questions about the co-op' s expansion project, please call 828-489-3205 to speak to a Capital Campaign committee member or to leave a message, or email email@example.com. Our goal is to return all phone calls within 24 hours.
We are excited for the future of the Hendersonville Community Co-op!
Frequently Asked Questions About Expansion
The Co-op has been an integral and valuable asset to our community for almost 30 years. We are the only store in town that maintains a high standard for quality foods that are good for individual health as well as the health of the planet. Higher quality translates to a preference for organically grown produce and a rejection of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). More and more people want to know where their food comes from –the rigorous standards of a cooperatively run grocery build confidence and trust. The Co-op is the only grocery store in Hendersonville that is owned within and by the community- including you. We are also part of a larger, nation-wide, cooperative food movement and belong to a group of 150 stores owned by 128 Co-ops in 35 states with annual sales of more than $1.2 billion.
Where will the new Co-op be and when will it open?
We have a signed purchase agreement to buy 2.1 acres of property at 899 Spartanburg Highway, at the intersection of South Grove Street and Spartanburg Highway, next to Carolina Mountain Credit Union. The property is under lease to Energy United Propane until August and includes a small office building. The purchase agreement includes an examination period that allows us time to check the land title, arrange financing, complete an environmental site assessment, and investigate the permits necessary for the project. During the same time we will be working with an architect and contractors to design the building and obtain bids for the building and equipment. We are planning to start construction by the end of this year and open the new Co-op in the summer of 2013.
Can you give us some details of what the expansion will look like?
Our goal is to develop HCC into a focal point for the community with an attractive store, deli, and community meeting space where classes in cooking, healthy living, nutrition, and exercise could be held. We plan to be able to hold special events inside and outside and make the location attractive for children and adults who want to shop, eat, attend a lecture, watch a movie, listen to live music or just sit and talk over coffee. The building will be more energy efficient and twice the size of our present one with wider aisles, and easy access for customers and delivery trucks. We will be able to carry more local fresh fruits and vegetables and more local organic cheeses, fish and cruelty-free meats.
Why can’t we just stay in our current location, continue to operate as we are and expand when the economy improves?
This actually is a good time to consider expansion: interest rates for loans are near an all time low and the real estate market is down, providing an opportunity to expand at a lower cost and offer Owners and the public a wider range of desired products and services. We cannot develop any further in our current location, and market studies show that if we relocate to a larger, more visible location, we will be able to increase sales significantly. Higher sales will allow us to offer more competitive prices on a wider range of goods. Sitting still and waiting for the competition to catch on does not seem to be a wise business strategy.
Why are we buying property instead of leasing a store?
Buying property and building will allow us to better design a store to fit our size and needs. In addition, lenders look more favorably at loaning money for a longer term when clients purchase property and this will allow for a more reasonable repayment schedule. Leasing would limit the amount of time the bank would loan us money to about 7 years, we would not be compensated for any improvements we made to a leased space, and we would not have control over the building site.
How can we keep up with expansion activities and progress?
The Co-op has a new web page dedicated to the expansion at http://www.hendersonville.coop. We will also be reporting our progress in the store and the Organic Press, and at a series of Owner meetings.local.fresh.stronger together.715 S Grove StHendersonville, NC 28792www.hendersonville.coop828-489-3205
How are the decisions about expansion being made?
Our General Manager (GM), Damian Tody and the Board are all committed to making decisions based on objective data and information from a variety of sources. We are following a process used by many other co-ops that have expanded successfully. It involves assessing internal readiness, risk, and market, financial, and design feasibility, it involves taking one step at a time, gathering information to make key decisions, keeping in mind Owner and customer preferences, and stopping to make sure we are ready for the next step.
How is the cost of expansion being controlled?
The GM will work closely with the banks, the architect and the builder to monitor expenses as the project proceeds. The GM regularly reports to the Board on the expansion work and the Board monitors the policies, which cover expansion activities such as Financial Planning and Budgeting, Asset Protection, and Financial Conditions and Activities. As stated above, we are carefully making decisions based on information from a variety of sources including consultants who have helped many co-ops with expansion planning and construction.
How will expansion benefit existing Owners?
A larger, more convenient store will mean greater product selection; so one-stop shopping will be a more viable alternative for more Owners. The Co-op will realize greater efficiencies resulting in some savings to operations. Operating more efficiently strengthens the long-term financial position of the Co-op and increases our ability to have an impact on the health of our entire community.
How will expansion affect current employees?
Current employees will have more opportunities to grow in their jobs or to advance to other more challenging positions at the Co-op based on our future growth. We expect that opening a new larger store will strengthen our ability to retain our fine staff and attract outstanding new employees. We want to be the “employer of choice” in Henderson County.
How will expansion benefit the community?
An expanded Co-op will provide additional jobs, generate tax revenue, provide opportunities for more local farmers and vendors, offer a wider variety of the freshest and highest quality food, and serve as a model for other cooperative businesses. It will enhance our ability to support a thriving local economy.
Are we selling out to a corporate business model and losing our local focus?
We will continue to be a cooperative where each Owner family has a voice and a vote as stipulated in our Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws. The non-voting preferred shares will not change our governance model. Profits will stay in the community and will be controlled by HCC rather than a distant corporate board. Our focus will continue to be on quality, healthy products, positive community outreach, and locally produced products. Our store size will go from 3800 sq. ft. to approximately 8,000 sq. ft, of retail space. We are committed to making the new store warm, inviting, colorful, and efficient.
Co-op Offering Cover Page
Co-op Offering FAQ Investing
Co-op Offering FAQ Expansion
Articles and Bylaws excerpts
Organic Press July Aug 2012