Dear South Philly Food Co-op Community,
Thank you all for welcoming me aboard as the General Manager of South Philly Food Co-op! Over the coming months, my goal is to keep you informed of our progress toward opening and invite your thoughts, feedback, and participation along the way. As a community-owned cooperative, community engagement is central to our business.
This is an exciting time because we are transforming our space from a shell into a real grocery store as we enter the tenant improvement phase of construction! This moment is the culmination of an incredible investment of thought, time, and effort on the part of our boards—past and present—our volunteers and our South Philly community.
- I have reviewed and provided feedback on project plans with our project management team (including hvac, electrical, plumbing, lighting, equipment, etc.)
- I have been ServSafe certified for food safety so that we can apply for our health license.
- I am working with our committees: Finance, Facilities, Marketing, Outreach, Food Justice & Equity.
- Point of Sale (register system) proposals are in!
- The board adopted over a dozen policies that will guide me in the role of the general manager, our store operations, and establish a mechanism for appropriate oversight.
- Our website is now hosted on a .COOP domain which will help us differentiate ourselves in the market.
What’s Happening / Coming Up Next:Read more
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, September 24, 2018
Follow us on social: @spfoodcoop
“$60K in 60 Days” Matching Member Loan Campaign Calls on 950+ Member-Owners to Deepen Their Investment in the Co-op
SOUTH PHILADELPHIA, PA — Since September 1, the South Philly Food Co-op has raised $33,800, a momentous start to its fall “$60K in 60 Days” member loan match campaign. Raising $60,000 by October 31 will unlock an additional $30,000 pledge from the Board of Directors, bringing the Co-op even closer to groundbreaking.
The South Philly Food Co-op will be South Philadelphia’s only community-owned grocery store — a place where neighbors can come together for fresh, whole, real food as well as community and food-centric education. It will take $1.14 million to capitalize the Co-op and transform the empty space at 2031 S. Juniper St. into a fully stocked grocery store.
“I'm proud to be part of this community of nearly 1,000 member-owners,” says Leigh Goldenberg, President of the Co-op’s Board of Directors. “By deepening our investment together, we can open our doors in 2019 and provide a neighborhood-centered, neighborhood-powered grocery option unique to South Philadelphia.”
Adds Jamila Medley, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Area Cooperative Alliance: “We are thrilled for South Philly Food Co-op's early success in this member loan match campaign. Member loans are an important way to build and sustain a cooperative economy.”
About Member Loans
The Member-Owner Note Program is the core of the Co-op’s capital campaign. It is a way for member-owners to invest in the Co-op, just as they would for any other start-up business. Programs like this have served as a powerful tool for food co-ops across the country.
"As a proud member-owner and investor myself, I am inspired every day by people in our neighborhood choosing to redirect their dollars locally and invest in this critical piece of community-owned infrastructure,” says Emily Wyner, Capital Campaign Organizer. “In a sociopolitical moment when things can feel out of our control, this is something we can truly own together.”
To learn more, visit southphillyfoodcoop.org.
Big news first: On Wednesday, August 22, the South Philly Food Co-op will host a special meeting of the members, to give our 920 member-owners the opportunity to vote on three proposed bylaw amendments. We'll also share some exciting news about our leadership team and celebrate some big milestones reached in our Capital Campaign!
Read on to learn more, and we hope to see you on the 22nd!
The South Philly Food Co-op Board of Directors
August 2: Happy Hour at Pistola's Del Sur
Join us TONIGHT for the latest and greatest in our series of Co-op happy hours!
A portion of proceeds from select items on Pistola's Del Sur's happy hour member will be donated to the Co-op, so order lots of:
- Yards Brewing Co. Saison
- The South Philly Yo-Op (tequila, hibiscus, orange, lime, Champagne)
- Margherita Coca (flatbread)
- Traditional guacamole
Plus, our generous hosts (and future neighbors!) have donated a gift card/beer basket for us to raffle off to attendees.
Come for the guac, stay for the cooperation (and beer).
August 22: A Special Meeting of the Members
Save the date: Please join us Wednesday, August 22 for a special meeting of the members!
Come meet our newly minted members of the Board of Directors; learn some exciting news about leadership changes on the Board; and -- most importantly -- vote on three key bylaw amendments.
Our Board proposes that we:
- eliminate the requirement that member-owners volunteer 8 hours per year;
- eliminate the requirement that member-owners attend a member orientation event; and
- change our Board candidacy qualifications such that adult candidates must only be a member-owner in good standing, for any length of time.
Voting "yes" on these measures would simply make volunteerism and attendance at an orientation optional; and provide more flexibility in Board development. Our bylaws are available for review here: southphillyfoodcoop.org/bylaws.
You can read more about the proposed bylaw amendments here. Primary member-owners will be receiving an email with an opportunity to vote digitally, or may choose to attend our event on the 22nd to vote in person.
Special Meeting of the Members
Wednesday, August 22, 6-8 p.m.
Facebook event coming soon!
CO-OP LEADERSHIP NEWS
Meet Emily Wyner, Capital Campaign Organizer
We're excited to announce that board member Emily Wyner is stepping into the role of Capital Campaign Organizer! Emily holds a master's degree in organization development and leadership, and focuses her consulting work on capacity building and expansion for mission-driven organizations. You'll be hearing much more from her in the coming months. Want to become a member-owner or deepen your investment through our member loan program? Drop Emily a line! She's treating anyone who reaches out to coffee — and a private store tour, in case you haven't seen the space yet.
Cate Murray will still be raising funds for the Co-op in the near term with particular emphasis on larger and institutional investors. She's also working on a number of other food-related projects in the area. Follow her on Instagram at @freeandplenty or find her on Wednesday nights at Hale and True, Philly's Best Cidery.
Comings, Goings and Leadership Changes on the Board
Our 2018 Board of Directors has officially been sworn in! At our most recent general membership meeting, we re-elected Jessica Calter, Angel D'Ippolito, Anna Kisiel and Emily Wyner; and in a special election last month, the Board also appointed Tanya Seaman! Our 2018-19 officers are:
Leigh Goldenberg, President
Jessica Calter, Vice President
Angel D'Ippolito, Treasurer
Nathaniel Cauldwell, Secretary
Exciting updates left and right around here! Please take a few minutes to read about:
- Our Capital Campaign fundraising progress and a call for your ideas
- Our Phase 1 construction (spoiler alert: It's here!)
- Our big June event, Kitchen Crawl: A Traveling Cocktail Party
- Our newest Shop South Philly partner business (hint: It's where you can buy everything for the kitchen but the sink ... )
And so much more. Thanks as always for your support and your participation!
The South Philly Food Co-op Board of Directors
P.S. If you'd like to cook or donate food or drink to the Kitchen Crawl, please fill out this form!
P.P.S. We'd like to wish our Board President, Jessica Calter, a very happy birthday today! Thanks for everything you do for the Co-op.
Recap: Spring 2018 General Membership Meeting
Huge thanks to everyone who came out to The Broad on Mifflin for our Spring 2018 General Membership Meeting! We ate (thanks, Blackbird Pizzeria!), we texted, we broke out into groups, and we all left feeling more inspired than ever before. Key takeaways:
Our Capital Campaign is going full steam ahead! Thanks to all of you, we are 909 members strong and have raised $191,800 in member loans. Wow! (Check out this handy one-sheet that explains our progress in more detail.) Now's the time to double down on our efforts: To fill our $250,000 gap, we need at least 300 more members and $150,000-$175,000 more in member-owner loans. (To that end, click here if you'd like to become a member-owner of the Co-op today, or email email@example.com if you're ready to make a member loan to deepen your investment in our future.)
Four Board members were (re-)elected to our Board of Directors for another two-year term! Big congratulations and gratitude go out to Jessica Calter, Angel D'Ippolito, Anna Kisiel and Emily Wyner. We couldn't do this without you!
- Our committees are busy ... really busy. Our Facilities team has shepherded phase 1 of construction (scroll down for details); our Outreach team has been setting up Co-op tables at events from river to river; our Food Justice & Equity Committee is gaining ground in establishing inclusive and equitable practices, processes and policies to help us enact our mission of using food as a force for good.
Building News: Phase 1 of Construction Is Complete!
We shared this exciting news at our General Membership Meeting, and we’re so pleased to share it with all of you: With building permits in hand, we have started construction! We hired Philly-based small-business owner Buckminster Green as our general contractor to do the first of two phases of construction. The first phase was limited to framing out the store; this framing was necessary to allow our landlord to complete their agreed-upon improvements, including electrical and HVAC installation and distribution. Phase two won’t start until all financing and fundraising is in place, but we’ll be ready to go when that all comes together!
Want to check out the space for yourself? Come to our June 30 Kitchen Crawl and get a tour! Speaking of which ...
[We're throwing!] June 30: Kitchen Crawl: A Traveling Cocktail Party
Join us for a very special event at the end of the month! The Kitchen Crawl is a South Philly interpretation of a traveling dinner party, offering samples and sips of Philly’s local food scene at homes of South Philly Food Co-op member-owners. Small groups will travel from home to home, including a stop at our future store location at 2031 S. Juniper. Tickets will be offered for $30 to Co-op members and $40 to non-members. Only 100 tickets will be sold, to ensure our event is an opportunity for neighbors to have authentic interactions with chefs, entrepreneurs, and fellow food enthusiasts that make up Philadelphia’s vibrant culinary community. Saturday, June 30, 3-6 p.m., $30 (Co-op members)-$40 (general admission), registration at 2031 S. Juniper St., southphillyfoodcoop.org/kitchencrawl.
[We're benefiting!] August 26: The Philly 10K
Quick reminder that the 2018 Philly 10K has chosen the Co-op as its beneficiary! We're honored to be partnering with this amazing organization that rallies thousands of runners around a singular passion: the City of Brotherly Love. Save the date and cheer on all the runners! Sunday, August 26, 7:30 a.m., add your name to the registration waiting list at thephilly10k.com.
Help Us Wrap Up Our Capital Campaign!
- What's your strategy for helping us raise $250,000 in remaining capital?
- How much would you charge?
SHOP SOUTH PHILLY SPOTLIGHT
Welcome Fante's to the Fam!
Our long-running local business partnership program Shop South Philly offers exclusive discounts and specials to South Philly Food Co-op member-owners when they shop at dozens of participating boutiques, restaurants and other shops. Just show your member card or member ID number at the following local businesses to receive your discount.
We'd like to give a warm welcome to everyone's favorite Italian Market kitchen outfitter, Fante's, our newest Shop South Philly partner business! Present your card at purchase to receive 10% off tools and 5% off electrics.
Don't forget to patronize Shop South Philly partner businesses often, and thank them for their participation!
Happy 2018! We hope your year is off to a happy, healthy start.
First and most importantly, we're hosting a happy hour on Thursday, January 25, and you're invited! Please join us from 6-9 p.m. at the Black Cat Tavern to celebrate the new year and hear more about what the Co-op has in store in the coming months. All attendees will get $1 off all drafts and $1 off all well drinks. We'll also be raffling off some great prizes, like 76ers tickets and a beer basket donated by The Black Cat! Hope to see you there!
If you've been following us over the past couple of months, you know that in November, we launched You and Yours, a big year-end campaign with really big goals: to gain 100 new member-owners and $100,000 in member loans by December 31.
We knocked on lots of doors, made lots of phone calls, met with lots of folks and had a ton of great conversations about what it means to own a grocery store along with hundreds of your neighbors. We hosted events at coffee shops and bars around the city, and asked you to deepen your involvement -- and your investment -- in the Co-op. So many of you stepped up as member-owners and pledged member loans, and we're so grateful for your support.
We can file all those conversations and connections and commitments in our “win” folder, but we also think it’s important to be honest with our supporters and let you know that, despite our very best efforts, we have yet to reach our 2017 year-end financial goals.
We raised nearly $8,000 in member loans from folks just like you in South Philly who believe in the power of taking ownership of our local economy. Plus, we added 38 member-owner households to our roster over the course of just six weeks. That means we're 853 strong, and growing every day.
And we can't do it without you. Do you know a neighbor, friend or relative who's been meaning to become a member-owner? Would you reconsider making a loan to the Co-op? Please think about helping out. Can you offer any suggestions on furthering our outreach and community engagement efforts? We’d love to hear from you.
We’re all dreaming about shopping at the South Philly Food Co-op. If we continue to work together, we can make it happen.
The South Philly Food Co-op
P.S. Looking for a Valentine’s Day gift for that special someone? On February 7, hand-paint something personal for the ones you love at Co-op Night at The Expressive Hand, where you’ll get 10% of your purchase, and 10% of all sales will be donated to the Co-op. Or, grab your sweetheart some sweet Co-op swag! We’ve got a handful of our limited-edition T-shirts and onesies on sale at Nice Things Handmade; and some storefront-sketch tea towels over at the Occasionette.
South Philly Food Co-op
Resolution Regarding Fiscal Benefits to Member-Ownership
WHEREAS article 5.1 of the South Philly Food Co-op bylaws grants the Board of Directors the power and duty to direct and oversee the management of the Co-op, establishing written policies and procedures;
WHEREAS the Board of Directors wishes to offer its member-ownership greater clarity regarding the mutually beneficial financial relationship between member-owners and the South Philly Food Co-op;
WHEREAS trends in the food co-op field suggest that co-ops should adopt patronage refund models and, if desired, occasional and flexible (rather than standing) discounts for its member-owners;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Board intends for the South Philly Food Co-op to offer its member-ownership fiscal benefits through patronage refunds and through flexible (rather than standing) in-store discounts.
In a patronage refunds model, the Board of Directors will approve a certain percentage of profits (in years the Co-op is profitable) to return to the Co-op’s member-owner households, proportional to what they have spent in the store since the previous refund. The Board reserves the right to choose not to allocate a refund and instead retain the capital for expansion or development opportunities in service to the member-ownership.
Flexible in-store discount options include member-owner appreciation days, special prices on selected products, coupons, special orders, case discounts, and more. The General Manager will be responsible for implementing the in-store discount program(s) for member-owners, with support and oversight from the Board of Directors.
The South Philly Food Co-op Board of Directors is permitted to null or modify the terms of this resolution at any point in time.
At last week’s General Membership Meeting, the Co-op’s member-owners had the opportunity to see the plans for the store’s design in a presentation from Mike Cronomiz of Re:Vision Architecture. Re:Vision Architecture, which was hired by the Co-op to design the store space early this year, is a green architecture firm specializing in sustainability. Throughout the planning process, they received feedback from UNFI, as well as members of several other local co-ops, to optimize the layout and design of the space.
The Co-op will be 3,300 square feet, approximately 100 feet deep and 33 feet wide, with two point of sale systems at the front of the store. It will also include two bathrooms, walk-in storage, a food-prep area, shipping and receiving, a staff office and break room, and a bulk foods section. The floors above the Co-op will be occupied by eight apartments.
These renderings mark an important step forward in the Co-op’s construction- the Real Estate Committee scouted over 80 locations before signing the lease at 2031 S. Juniper! Help us begin construction by becoming a member-owner, investing in the Co-op through our Member-Owner Note Program, or making a Capital Campaign donation.
Check out some of Re:Vision's renderings below:
If your South Philly neighbors are still in the "not-yet-member" camp, here are a few tips and tricks to help you persuade them to come on board. Just copy, paste and personalize!
Thanks in advance for your support in helping us grow!
Hi [your friend's name],
Hope you're having a great week! I'm writing because I know you haven't yet joined the South Philly Food Co-op, and I wanted to send you my pitch for why you should sign up today. Here goes:
Did you know the Co-op has signed a lease at 2031 S. Juniper St. in the heart of South Philly? I'm really excited about this location because [name some reasons that matter to you, like its proximity to the subway, easy walking distance from Passyunk Avenue, accessibility by bike, etc.], and I hope you are, too.
I'm also excited because finding a location means the Co-op is moving forward with its mission to use food as a force for good. But what does that mean? Well, southphillyfoodcoop.org/who-we-are breaks it down into a set of seven core beliefs:
- South Philly is an awesome place to call home. [Feel free to expand upon what some of these beliefs mean to you personally!]
- A vibrant community embraces people from all walks of life.
- Healthy, wholesome food should be accessible to all.
- Our food choices have an impact on the people and world around us.
- Investing in our community has the power to make a big impact.
- The fewer miles food has to travel, the better.
- We are more than just a store.
I don't know about you, but those are my beliefs, too.
Membership costs $200 -- and that's a one-time commitment, not an annual one. And you can pay it in quarterly installments of as little as $25! Plus, it covers everyone in your household, so your membership also extends to [list family members, pets and other animate objects!]. Member-owners will quite literally be owners of our business, eligible to vote on everything from who's on our Board of Directors to what's on our shelves. That's democracy at work!
The most important reason you should sign up today? The longer it takes us to raise our start-up capital (roughly $1 million to open our doors), the more we may need to pay in rent before we're able to start bringing in revenue. So as we set our sights on a 2018 grand opening, we can't stress enough that every dollar really does count.
Last but not least, the Co-op hosts all sorts of fun events, as well as two general membership meetings every year. So if you join, we'll get to see each other more often!
OK, so that's my pitch. I hope it worked! Click here to sign up today, and please let me know if you do so I can buy you a thank-you [insert favorite beverage here].
Via social media:
I'm a member of the @spfoodcoop because [insert short reason here! Some ideas: "I believe in healthy food access" / "community investment can make a big impact" / "I want to get involved with my community" / "I think food can be a force for good"]. Join me today: http://bit.ly/2gWNjTM
(And, because we all know social posts do better with photos, here's a great one!)
September is a big month with big goals here at the Co-op. Right now, we have an amazing opportunity to meet those goals: If we can get $10,000 in new member-owner loans by the end of September, we have an extremely committed Board member who is willing to match those loans, dollar-for-dollar.
YOUR $1,000 LOAN COULD BECOME $2,000.
YOUR $1,000 LOAN COULD BECOME $2,000.
WANT TO DOUBLE YOUR IMPACT?
MAKE YOUR PLEDGE TODAY.
You can make a loan to the Co-op in the amount of $1,000 or more, and receive 0, 2, or 4% interest back over 6, 8, or 10 years -- your choice, in any combination. Make your pledge today, and someone from our capital campaign team will follow up with you.
Member loans are a way for member-owners like you to deepen their financial investment in the Co-op and help finance our journey to store opening. Your loan will be repaid with interest after we’re open, which is a major win-win! Visit our FAQ about member loans, or make your pledge today.
Our Board and volunteers are working hard to get us to store opening -- but we’ll only get there if member-owners like you contribute, too. This match from our dedicated Board member is an incredible opportunity to unlock extra funds to help us open our community-owned marketplace in 2018. Help make this a milestone month for the Co-op with your pledge!
Our Capital Campaign has made great progress this summer: We've just passed the 800 member-owner milestone and raised over $340,000. That means we're a third of the way to our overall goal of $1 million -- money we'll need to stock, staff and open our community-owned grocery store.
We couldn't have reached this important milestone without the generosity of our member-owners who have joined the Co-op and made loans through our Member-Owner Note Program. By being a member-owner and making a loan of $1,000 or more, you're saying you believe in us, in cooperative enterprise, and in an economically thriving and self-sustaining South Philly.
If you're not already, we invite you to become a member-owner today.
Last week, Board Members Anna Kisiel, Jessica Calter, and Leigh Goldenberg offered a great primer on the nuts and bolts of our Capital Campaign and what we need to open the doors on the South Philly Food Co-op. If you weren't able to tune in to our lunchtime Facebook Live, you can check out the archive: