Shared Harvest - Sneak Peek Presentation

When: March 19, 2016

Where: Ace Hardware

Hello, our theme song for today – “Let’s get it started” by the Black Eye Peas

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Thank you all for being here today, I am thrilled by the incredible support everyone has shown to the coop today, and in the past few years!!  Today is a crucial moment in our forward momentum.  It's time to get “it started”!

And Welcome to this great space, the “old Ace Hardware”- a blast of the past for many - but also ‘forward-looking’ toward our shared vision of a small, community-owned,  neighborhood grocery store where ‘everyone know your name’ (and the name of your farmer) .  

I so often think of Keustners, Joes, and Funks – those corner stores in my neighborhood and yours – and the kind families that ran them.  Everything old can is new again!

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Let me introduce myself, I am Carol Rauschenberger – One of the founding members of Shared Harvest.  Before I go on to give you our status, I need to restate the definition of a Cooperative.  I suspect there are long time members here, 1 year or more,  but also new members.

So what is a co-op?  I am coining a new word today –  “GROUP-PRENUER” – We are a group of people -with a shared common interest and need.  And that need is good food in our community and a local food source of that food.

To meet that need, we have formed an Illinois corporation; under Illinois cooperative law.  That business is the Elgin Food Cooperative, dba Shared Harvest. We, like most any other for-profit business, must raise startup funds, and plan to run a business with a bottom-line orientation.  The major difference between a co-op and a typical corporation is that we are all “equal owners” (No one can buy more than 10 equity shares and each member only has one vote).  And we, as the owners, cannot sell a large chunk of the store to an investor, or to anyone who could own a larger interest in the firm– than any of us. Instead we are all “In this together”, and we have to see ourselves as “group-prenuers” - investing equity and capital, together.  More about that later.

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Let’s start with some interesting numbers!!!

6% - This is the percentage of fresh food that we consume  - that is grown in Illinois. YES, only 6% in some of the best farmland in the  world.

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94%  - That is what we import to Illinois from California, Florida, Mexico, Chile, New Zealand.

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14 Days – That is the average time that fresh produce takes to get from the farm and onto the shelves of your local grocery store.

30% - The amount of produce doesn’t make it off the farm because it is not ‘pretty’ enough for the American consumer. Additionally, some 15%  of the produce that gets off the farm is lost in spoilage.

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5400 jobs could be gained if the state of Illinois focused more on local food production; (outside of soybeans and corn etc). And that would be a better food system for us.

Here are some more interesting numbers to put our co-op in perspective:

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163 – the number of Grocery Store Coops are in various stages of start up in the United States.

14 in Illinois!

1 in Elgin – That’s us! And here is a shout-out to coops starting in Mchenry, Batavia and Lombard and to the Noble Carrot in Pingree Grove.

What does it take to open a co-op?

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The Shared Harvest boards and volunteers have easily contributed 5000+++ hours of  labor on ‘our mutual’ behalf – but that is what group-prenuers do!

We have been selling shares for 1095 days and have sold

851 shares to 595 owning families or households!  That averages to almost 1 share per day.

Even more, we are in the right industry at the right time!  USDA figures suggest that sales of local  foods have grown by 100% in recent years and organic food sales are EXPECTED to grow at about a rate of 14%.  Impressive numbers for the industry we are in!

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Before I get to the hard numbers, I want to talk about “who” and “what” it took to get here today – and to sound a little corny – IT TAKE A VILLAGE” and in our case it takes the ‘Elgin area Community.’

OWNERS – Thank you to owners/shareholders, almost 600 households!! Give yourselves a hand!

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Board Members and Volunteers - I won’t go call out names but almost all past and current members and Super volunteers are here, you will see their badges and can ask them questions.

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Advisory Board: We have been blessed to have some great names in the local business world to support us with advice: Mr Harry Blizzard, Jack Shales, Keith Rauschenberger, Sybil Ege, and Dr. Dori Poulos.

Landlords -Dave and Adam Zeigler – We couldn’t have gotten this far without them - their  advice, support  and their great offer of this space for our store. And the icing on the cake – an offer of 10 years free rent.  I hope each owner here today says hello, and shakes their hand.

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Farmers – Our mission is to source and sell as much local food as possible! We have talked to many farmers who are excited about our business model.  We have hand-shake deals with Elgin’s own Matt Klein.  Klein’s farm is a long time producer in the local food shed.  

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Additionally, we have upstarts like our beloved Trogg’s Hollow, Chris and Marcie Prchal,  who have not only added to the wonderful local food available to us but to the fabric of Elgin!  I mean new farmers starting in Elgin, that’s a great trend.

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Builders -  I want everyone to meet Alan Scimeca who has worked closely with us on build-out costs for this cool location.  And we have chosen him to be our contractor at a very reasonable price!!  Our local architect is Steve Silva.

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Lawyers and Accountants: We want to give thanks for PRO BONO work from Craig Mason, Steven Watwood, Kari Christensen, Peter Bazos.

There were many others that helped us get here today including local Business Owners, local banks, friends, relatives , focus group participants. Who did I forget? Many I am sure who have helped us reach our vision.

All this adds us to Shared Harvest being MORE THAN JUST A STORE!!  

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It can be a community asset with a mission to sell good food at a fair price while be supporting local farmers and other businesses, educating the community, being good stewards of the environment, and working with nonprofits to feed everyone in our community.

Now to the HARD NUMBERS

We have start up costs of  $1.6 million.  These costs include build-out of the space, equipment, stock for the stores and hiring staff.   Our funding SOURCES include local, statewide, national grants as well as bank loans and other external sources. But most importantly, we need YOU to provide a loan to the coop.  Additionally, we will pursue other private investors.

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Today we are introducing our Capital Campaign - to start raising funds from of all of us here in this room.

The Shared Harvest board has done their homework

TODAY we have a private offering  of “notes” or ‘loans’ as an opportunity to be Group-prenuers!

You should have gotten an orange envelope in the mail that included an introductory letter/brochure which provides an overview to our Capital Campaign.

The Notes or Loans that Shared Harvest is offering are from rates of 0-4%  return and terms from 5-10 years.  And you have an option to select terms that are best for you.  

This is an opportunity to put your money to work in your local community, for your health, for the possibility of rates better than the bank!!

With each of us putting forward a loan we can afford to make this happen– it aggregates and then we can take that money to the bank/lenders and look at grants.

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“We can do it” -Oak Park, Bloomington/Normal, and other cooperative groceries stores have raised that amount of funds.

Last week, I attended a cooperative conference in Indiana for up and coming Grocery Store Cooperatives across the country.  I attended a session on Financing.  That is where I met representatives from The National Coop Bank, the Leaf  Fund and Shared Capital and Self Help.   I was encouraged to hear from those folks that there is money out there for support and investment in local food systems and grocery store food coops.  They just need a compelling story.

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And Shared Harvest has a compelling story –

and A TRULY supportive community!

At this moment, I would like to introduce Mark Fick – of Shared Capital Cooperative.  He has also been advising us.  I am pleased he is here to meet all of you and to see the enthusiasm today.

Our hope is that if we raise the money through our capital campaign, these lending firms, like Shared Capital, will back us!

So we are raising $800,000K by JUNE 1.   To kick off the campaign, YOUR Shared Harvest board and super volunteers have committed the first $65, 000 – that is 12 people committing an average of $5400 and the first 8% of what we need to raise.

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But  NOW we need YOU!  

Your carrot?  This is an investment that reflects your values and  your community.  

And you will be expanding your “group-prenuer” credentials.

Our offering packets are available here.  Please consider  loaning Shared Harvest, $2,000, $5,000, $10,000 or more!!! Please go to Heather and sign out an Offering Packet.  These are legal documents detailing the offer, citing the risks, and laying out the options for terms.  If you sign one out, Heather, myself, or one of our Capital committee volunteers will follow up with in  week or so to answer question or discuss your options.

And our committee will be contacting the rest of our membership with this same offer!

IF we can raise this Money by June 1, and put the rest of the financing together this summer, we could be building out in the fall! PLEASE CONSIDER AN INVESTMENT IN SHARED HARVEST and thank you for your continued support!

Let's get it started!

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