Attention co-op members!
Below is a draft business plan for the co-op. Please provide feedback and suggestions, either below, to the listerve, or to the board.
Fairbanks Community Cooperative Market Draft Business Plan
Fairbanks Community Cooperative Market (FCCM) is a proposed natural foods grocery store for the Fairbanks area operated as a cooperative. We have incorporated, have a vision statement, and now have a Market Study completed by the G2G Research Group.
Our vision statement: The Fairbanks Cooperative Food Market works for community health and sustainability by providing natural foods and products, promoting local suppliers, and offering consumer education in an open community center environment.
Fairbanks has not had a natural foods store for over 8 years now since the Whole Earth Exchange closed. Out only outlets here for natural foods and natural living products are two Fred Meyer stores and two Safeway stores. Fred Meyer has a limited supply of these for sale and Safeway has even less, similar to their stores in the Lower 48. There is also a vitamin/health food store, Sunshine Health Foods, here. They primarily stock vitamins and supplements. The Whole Earth Store was open for over 20 years and closed primarily due to owner burnout, mismanagement and new competition from Fred Meyer. We believe a town the size of Fairbanks’ over 80,000 population including the home of the University of Alaska has and can support a natural foods store.
Fairbanks is at the end of the long hydrocarbon based food distribution system. We desperately need to stimulate more local food production and storage if we are to have a secure food supply in the future. There is the potential here in the Tanana Valley to produce storable food that can be stored all year round thereby having local food available in the winter here. Root cellars can hold carrots, cabbages, potatoes, turnips, rutabagas, kohlrabis, and other similar vegetables throughout the winter. That is the way the Russian people survived the collapse of the Soviet empire and the infrastructure associated with it. Our coop can help to develop such a system here by offering a market for locally produced food and helping to develop large root cellars to store the food for year round sale.
We believe that there is a potential for membership here based on the customer base of the old Whole Earth Store. We are confident that a town of our size can support a natural foods store. We are at the end of the road literally in the middle of the wilderness. We have to develop our own food sources here due to the expense of importing food that is only probably going to grow more expensive.
Description of Firm
FCCM is envisioned as a natural foods grocery selling traditional grocery goods and other so-called green goods in a traditional grocery store setting. The store will be operated as a coop with a democratically controlled board setting the direction and management of the store. There will be a store manager and other personnel responsible to the Board for the successful operation of the store. FCCM will be a cooperative but that does not mean that the coop will not have to maintain profitability to stay in business. FCCM will operate like any other business with customer service the top priority. The customers will have the opportunity to be owner-members of the coop and thus have a vote in the management of the coop.
Description of Products and Services
The proposed coop store will have a retail sales area of about 3,500 square feet. The proposed store will feature a relatively broad selection of natural and locally produced food, to include dry grocery, meat and poultry (possibly fresh seafood), dairy and frozen food, fruits and vegetables, a self-service deli with a grab & go section, a coffee/juice bar, a deli/cafe seating area, a fairly strong selection of vitamins/supplements and body care items with a customer service counter, a small reference library section, and a a limited selection of non-food and general merchandise. The products will be of high quality with knowledgeable customer service provided in a facility that conveys and environment of abidance, intimacy and community.
FCCM’s customers will be drawn from the greater Fairbanks area who are interested in supporting local businesses, food production, and natural foods and products that may or may not be available in the stores offering indirect competition such as Safeway and Fred Meyer. Generally natural food store customers are better educated in areas of nutrition and health. Customers will also be drawn from the immediate surrounding area which does not have a grocery store nearby. The closest store is the Safeway on College Rd. which is a fair distance from the whole south side of Fairbanks. There are a number of government offices and other businesses in the nearby area that will provide customers.