Dill Pickle Digest December 2007

Hello Pickle People!

A lot has been accomplished over the past 2 years, but much of it has been behind the scenes. Below you will find some highlights since the August/September 2007 Digest.

Member Update:
We are up to 134 members! Help us reach our end of the year target of 200 members by talking to friends, neighbors and relatives about the Dill Pickle. The deeper we get into planning our storefront, the more we realize how much it's going to take to open its doors. We need your help to bring more of the community into this cooperative effort!

We also encourage all of our members that haven't done so yet to send in their second $50 membership payment or purchase the remainder of their $250 membership in full. This will dramatically help to speed up the opening of our storefront!

Member Communication:
We are working on ways to improve communicating Dill Pickle progress to our members more clearly. Members could help by emailing any questions you may have to picklepeople@gmail.com. We will respond to your question and also include it in a FAQ section of our Digest in case other members have a similar question.

We will soon be posting a progress report based on the "How to Start a Food Coop Guide" which is written by the Cooperative Grocers' Information Network. This will help members get a sense of what's been accomplished and what our next steps are moving forward.

Beginning in the New Year you can look forward to receiving the Digest monthly via email.

Storefront/Space Update:
We are moving forward with the storefront at 3039 W. Fullerton Ave. We are beginning to develop the general store layout. Our goal for the next two months is to develop a detailed business plan specifically for opening a store in this space so that we can apply for bank loans and set concrete fundraising goals. We will need to hire an architect, contractors for electricity, plumbing, and renovation, a general manager, and possibly a co-op consultant. There will also be a host of purchases to be made, from shelving to refrigerators to cashier equipment. Provided that we can raise sufficient funds through memberships, member loans, bank loans, fundraising events and grants, we are optimistic that the store will open by late spring/early summer of 2008.

Fundraising Event:
Sadly, due to a venue change leading to band cancellations, the November 19th fundraising event was cancelled. However, the bands that cancelled are working with us to put together an even better fundraising event on January 19th! Here are the details:

Dill Pickle Food Co-op Benefit Concert
Saturday, January 19th
at AV-aerie (2000 W Fulton, at Damen)

Pit er Pat
Reds and Blue

w/ DJ Bobby Conn spinning throughout the night and DJ Mary Nisi of WLUW presiding over the turntables for a late night dance party from 11:30 till 1

Doors open at 8
Bands start at 9

All ages!
DONATION BAR (ID required)
$15 suggested donation for admission

Incorporation Update:
All appropriate forms have been submitted and we are now just waiting for the incorporation to be approved. Once we are incorporated we will be able to move forward with signing the lease at the 3039 W. Fullerton Ave. space.

Food Co-op Development Seminar and Visit to Lost River Co-op in Paoli, Indiana:
Paoli is a town in southern Indiana with small population that consists of about 1,500 households. The per capita income is approximately $14,000, with 15% of the population below the poverty line. When the local grocery store closed a few years ago, Wal-Mart became the only source for food items within 47 miles. Members of the community came together to start a farmer's market to offer a local and organic alternative. The farmer's market was a huge success, and they held a town meeting to determine interest in a community-owned grocery store. Interest was high and today the co-op (after open for about two months) has 337 members. The co-op is a great success for Paoli and an inspiration for Dill Pickle.

Though the seminar was mostly geared for groups in the initial stages of forming a food co-op, the financial segment was a harsh reminder for what Dill Pickle needs to accomplish in the next few months. Recently opened co-ops required several hundred thousand dollars for renovation of space, consulting services, equipment, employee salaries, and stocking the store. These funds were raised through memberships, member-loan programs, grants, and loans from financial institutions.

Get Involved!
There are many opportunities for anyone who has some extra time and/or energy to volunteer. Please email picklepeople@gmail.com if you are interested.

Looking forward to 2008. It is going to be an exciting year for the Dill Pickle Food Coop!! Thanks!