Come and help us plan our activities for next year. Bring your ideas and enthusiasm. If you are too busy to come, post a comment or send an e-mail.
Wednesday, December 16
5:30 pm, FCCM Volunteer Center
Come and help us plan our activities for next year. Bring your ideas and enthusiasm. If you are too busy to come, post a comment or send an e-mail.
Wednesday, December 16
5:30 pm, FCCM Volunteer Center
Please come to the Health and Wellness Education Committee’s first meeting:
6 PM Wednesday October 28th
FCCM Volunteer Center
542-4th Suite 100B
(This is beneath the Veterans Affairs office. Go in the door to the right of the Vet office and down the stairs. The door will be unlocked until 6:45)
Join us for our first Health and Wellness Education Committee meeting. Even before our store is open we can begin to serve our members by providing health education and information to the community. We need your help in planning what sort of activities and things we can do to encourage and support a healthy and well Fairbanks.
For more information, please contact Sharon Alden.
Richard Seifert, an energy and housing specialist with the Cooperative Extension Service, will be giving a talk on sustainable community movements (“Connecting University Research to Communities”), Wednesday, Oct. 21, from 6:30 to 8 pm at Noel Wien Library (1215 Cowles in Fairbanks). This talk is part of the Community Energy Forum, sponsored by the Alaska Center for Energy & Power, the Renewable Energy Alaska Project, and the Extension Service.
Seifert will discuss community gardens, home weatherization, renewable energy, education, and local organizations that are working to build sustainable communities.
FCCM Minutes for June 4, 2009 (as approved June 11)
Present were Mary Christensen, Rob Leach, Lela Ryterski, and Ian Olson.
The minutes from the previous meeting were read and accepted.
COMMUNITY/OUTREACH: Mary reported on the June 2nd meeting. Three new members came to that meeting: Shawn Lott, Sue Sprinkle, and Jackie Sunnyboy. Also present were Tom Bradley, Lela Ryterski, Mary Christensen, and Sharon Alden.
Mary informed the group that they were responsible for the initial membership fundraising since the fact that we could raise, among ourselves, a substantial portion of funds needed to begin operations would legitimize the co-op as viable and make it easy to receive other monies from matching grants and bank loans. Mary suggested we shoot for a goal of $100,000 by November. Five hundred people investing the proposed one-time $200 membership would satisfy that goal. The next newsletter will focus on the money issue.
Mary and Sharon went to Risse’s Greenhouse on Saturday and got a few names. Tom and Lela went to Clucking Blossom and got several more names. Mary suggested that if we all got on the co-op’s Facebook and each invite 6 people to join, we could be reaching thousands of people with one notice.
Twitter is set up. Sharon did the Pay Pal and Dru is working on the website to incorporate all aspects. Partners in Business is in progress. Other member equity: turkey dinner, calendar, fancy dinner at a producer, cookbook, coupon book, buttons, t-shirts, bumper stickers, tiles honoring big donors. Sue is working up a membership poster.
Next Communications Committee meeting will be next Tuesday, June 9th, at Mary’s at 6:30 p.m. Interested persons can go to email@example.com and ask for directions to Mary’s house.
LOCAL PRODUCERS: Lela is contacting potential suppliers. Ian mentioned reindeer processing from a mobile unit at the university. He’ll look into that.
STORE DESIGN: Rob is the new chair.
BUSINESS PLAN: Robert Sullivan has material and is getting geared up, reported Rob.
FINANCE: Hans is out of town. Mary contacted two insurance companies and gave Rob the findings.
PRODUCT SELECTION: Lela spoke to Shawn Lott about being on the committee.
TREASURER’S REPORT: Lela reported that Sharon put a member’s donation in the bank and paid the phone bill.
OLD BUSINESS: The Bylaws got sent to the lawyer. Lela sent Deirdre the revised copy to replace the one on the blog. Rob is sure it will need another revision.
Pot luck dinner for volunteers to inventory the Foodland building and choose which committees they would like to work with. Bring flashlight and work clothes and a digital camera. Event pushed back 3 weeks to allow enough time to get the word out.
Delta Farm Bus Tour in mid-July.
Communications Committee to advertise for other health education events in our newsletter.
Rob is scheduled to speak at the Farmers’ Market Board Meeting on June 17th at 5:30pm. Other board members are welcome to join.
COMMITTEE DESCRIPTIONS: Rob outlined how the committees work to provide input for the Business Plan: Puts all aspects together—start up costs, growth, working capital, employee training, operating funds, inventory, etc.
Product Selection: Needs to develop a statement with a clear criteria for products. Define local produce—meats, fish, Alaska, etc. List products we’re not going to carry, i.e.: tobacco. Set goals for increasing amount of local produce. Store services: coffee bar, juice bar, deli, etc. and future projections. Special events: plant starts, etc. Look at feasibility study and take recommendations.
Vendor Selection: Follows criteria for product selection.
Operations: Project how many managers we’ll need; how many people per day; rent, utilities, etc. Talk to grocery clerk union. Volunteers for community enrichment activities…
Health and Wellness Education: Speakers discussing co-ops at the Noel Wein Library or Universalist Church.
NEXT MEETING: Thursday, June 11th at 6:00p.m. At the Foodland building.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:00 p.m.
With a lofty goal of opening Fairbanks Community Cooperative Market (Co-op Market) by 2011 there are many tasks at hand. Committees have been formed and many need volunteers. Won’t you help it fly? You can volunteer a little of your time or a lot.
There are many small tasks to do so if you can sign up for even one small task it will be a blessing and you will enjoy the fruits of your labor as you shop our own little grocery store next summer.
To find out how you can best serve the Co-op Market e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 457-1023. Or contact one of the committee chairs and let them know you want to participate in that committee.
Business Plan Committee – Board of Directors
This committee is central to the organization as it is organizing all the pieces that go into creating a good business plan. HOWEVER, the work of the other committees is absolutely necessary to putting together a good business plan. Tasks involved include:
1. Putting together the estimates that come from the other committees into a formal business plan..
2. Determining a final estimate of the funds necessary for the project before seeking funding
Finance Committee – Committee chair – Hans Geier – Email: email@example.com
This committee is responsible for developing sources of funding including:
Store Design – Committee Chair – Robert Leach – Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Local Producers and Product Selection Committee – Chair –Cora Kelley – Email email@example.com
Health and Wellness Education – Chair – Sharon Alden – Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Operations Committee – Chair – Mary Christensen E-mail fccm2010@gmail.
The work of this committee is almost complete.
Communications/Outreach Committee – Chair – Mary Christensen Email email@example.com or call 347-4463
The numerous activities involved with outreach require a lot of help. Many people already participate but we can always use more creative minds!
FCCM Minutes for April 16th 2009
Present were Mary Christensen, Helen McLean, Lela Ryterski, Tom Bradley, Barbara Bradley, Rob Leach, Hans Geier.
1) Last week’s minutes were read and accepted.
2) The COMMUNICATIONS COMMITTEE presented an agenda for this meeting. The committee met April 15th. Their report was read and discussed. On that committee were Helen, Mary, Barb and Tom.
a) We were able to keep the same phone number and address (both Dave’s) for the co-op. The people official to deal with phone issues are Lela, Cora, Rob and Mary. We have ACS. It will cost us $5 month for a message phone. Barb will enter the message the Committee discussed and check the messages 2 times a week. The PO Box costs $66 for 6 months. Lela will pay the first 6 months since she is getting her own mail there, as well.
b) The new brochures were distributed for viewing. They came out OK but the paper is flimsy and the price was steep–$150 for 300 copies. We can do better next time. Barb got a good deal on the sign–$85. It came out very good. Tom’s green lattice backboard also came out very good.
c) Health Fair: Barb and Tom will man the booth this Friday and Saturday mornings.
d) Sustainable Task Force Fair at the University: Lela will contact Justin regarding brochures and founding member tickets for the booth he is planning to do this Saturday.
e) The Communications Committee will look into scheduling us for booths at different events to give us exposure.
f) The Annual Meeting date was changed to Saturday, August 29th, at Pioneer Park from noon to 9 p.m.
Pat Fitzgerald and Robin Dale Ford agreed to play for us for another fundraiser, but maybe not the Annual Meeting.
g) Sunday, April 19th, 2 pm. Lela, Rob and Mary will enter members info into database at Mary’s house.
h) Mary will set up an account for us with Constant Contact. The first 2 months are free. We’ll send out our first newsletter at the end of this month.
i) Jerry says there’s interest in Delta and needs founding member tickets. Mary will send him some. Jerry reported by email that he’s contacting producers. We might take the meeting to Delta at some point.
STORE DESIGN: We agreed we need a larger space than just the liquor store. The Business Planning Committee will dictate how much space we need. The feasibility study says 5000 sq. ft.
BUSINESS PLANNING COMMITTEE: Rob suggested Robert Sullivan as a person who is interested in helping this committee. Mary and Lela are interested as well. Jerry will play a big role, as well. Dave had made an in-depth draft we can work with.
BYLAWS: This got pushed back to the next meeting.
NEXT MEETING is set for Thursday, April 23rd at Foodland at 6 p.m.
NEXT COMMUNICATIONS COMMITTEE MEETING will be Wednesday, April 22nd at Mary Christiansen’s at 6 pm.
The BOARD MEETING was adjourned at 7:30.
Present were Rob Leach, Barbara Bradley, Tom Bradley, Hans Geier, Helen McLean, Mary Christiansen, Sharon Alden, and Lela Ryterski.
A) BANKING: Since Dave’s passing, we need to assign three check signers. Mary made the motion to have the President, Secretary and Treasurer be signers. The motion was passed unanimously.
The Interim Board Members are as follows:
We also need to obtain Dave’s death certificate for the bank (Wells Fargo). Lela will contact Dave’s son, Philos Whitesky, for the death certificate.
B) BYLAWS: We passed around copies of the original bylaws Dave had made up. We went over the bylaws as a group and made changes. The question was whether to offer stock shares or not. According to the Articles of Incorporation, we will not offer shares. We have decided to charge a one-time membership fee. The specifics of a family membership are not clear yet, nor the amounts of either membership category. Rob will bring an updated copy to the next meeting for further consideration.
C) WORKING MONEY: Barb and Tom are putting together the booth for the Health Fair. We have decided on a logo which will go on the banner and new brochures. These can be used for future booths. We authorized money to be spent for these items. Rob gave Barb $300 for working capital. When we obtain access to the co-op account, he will be reimbursed.
D) OUR NEXT MEETING will be next Thursday, April 16th, at 6:00 p.m. at the Foodland site.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:40 p.m.
Present were Mary Christiansen, Cora Kelley, Barbara Bradley, Tom Bradley, and Lela Ryterski.
Health Fair: Tom and Barb submitted an application. We discussed preparations for the booth including constructing a backboard. We can’t sell memberships, but we can hand out our brochure, which we revised at this meeting.
(The brochure mentioned providing cold storage. That’s an unresolved issue at this point. Suggestions were for producers to help pay for cold storage or approach growers about forming their own cold storage co-op. They might more easily obtain a grant for that purpose.)
Cora will contact Dateline to re-do the brochure.
Website: Cora has been in contact with Deirdre Helfferich, Mark Richards, and Andy (Dru?) Heskin. Deirdre doesn’t want to do it and Mark and Andy are out of town. It would be better if we had someone in town to do it. Jerry Wackers had offered at the last meeting. We’ll ask him.
Blog: Deirdre is willing to continue posting for the blog. The committee would figure out what to put on the blog, and give that info to Deirdre. We discussed the difference between a blog and the website. (see Agenda).
Constant Contact: We will send out to our member list a periodic newsletter–notice of the next meeting and a progress report Mary can do one more, then we need to pay for our own service.
PayPal: There is money for the co-op in a PayPal account under Dave’s name. Lela will try to find out how to access that account.
Membership Meeting and Harvest Fair: On the agenda for the Annual Meeting that will be sent to the members will be the proposed bylaws, nominees for the Board of Directors to be elected on that day, a PowerPoint presentation giving the history of co-ops and the vision and effort toward the realization of ours. Schedule of other events for the day include games, fun, samples, music and dance. (Suggested were belly dancing, Afro-Cuban dancing, fiddling, rock and roll)
The next meeting of the Communication Committee will be for the purpose of organizing the Health Fair booth. Location: Mary Christiansen’s house at 5:30 pm on Wednesday, April 15th.
Our co-op is continuing to get closer to opening a storefront. Our board is supportive of the Foodland location. We inspected the site on March 19th. Much work needs to be done to make this location work. If you are interested in volunteering with this effort please get in touch with Jerry Wackers at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are need of individuals with experience in all areas of construction – to include engineering, architecture, electrical, plumbing, heating, cooling and refrigeration, as well as site development and contracts.
An earlier, abbreviated version of the proposed business plan is posted below. Here’s an updated, more comprehensive plan. Please comment and provide us with suggestions!
Fairbanks Community Cooperative Market (Co-op Market) 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: Fairbanks Community Cooperative 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. Our 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 in the Tanana Valley to produce food that can be stored all year round thereby having local food available in the winter. 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 co-op 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 due to the expense of importing food which will grow more expensive.
Description of Firm
Co-op Market 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 cooperative 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. Co-op Market will be a cooperative but that does not mean that the co-op will not have to maintain profitability to stay in business. Co-op Market will operate like any other business with customer service the top priority. The customers will have the opportunity to be owner-members of the co-op and thus have a vote in the management of the co-op.
Description of Products and Services
The proposed co-op 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 an environment of abidance, intimacy and community.
Co-op Market’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.
Market Area, Size, and Trends
The market area for Co-op Market will be the greater FNSB area and surrounding railbelt communities plus some mail order business with the surrounding roadless communities. The market area has experienced a steady growth in population in the post pipeline years. The local economy has been anchored by the UAF, Fairbanks being the Prudhoe Bay supply center, Ft Knox Mine,Fairbanks’ role as the industrial center of Interior Alaska, military spending at the two military bases near Fairbanks, and a strong tourism industry. In the future the national economy’s downturn will affect Fairbanks as military spending may be cut, the tourism industry will suffer as discretionary income declines, and nearby mines may be affected by low mineral prices. The overall trend is for the economy to level off in interior Alaska. Growth will probably slow or be nonexistent. Competition for retail sales will increase. The price of imported products will probably go up with the increase in the price of oil. Local food and industrial production should be stimulated by this. Also the trend is for the sale of natural food and related products to be on the upswing as more questions arise as to the appropriateness of our current food system and its sustainability.
Competition for Co-op Market comes from the large national chain box stores Safeway, Fred Meyer, and Walmart. Safeway and Fred Meyer have two stores one on the east and one on the west side of town while Walmart has one store located on the east side of town. These stores have a grocery section that includes a nutrition or health section that sells organic produce and other related products. They are indirect competitors.
There is only one direct competitor located within the trade area, Sunshine Health Foods.
There is indirect competition from buying clubs in town whereby a group of people get together and place an order for food from a warehouse in the Lower 48. There was also a local business here that would place the order and then distribute the goods at a prearranged location. That business closed but another similar could reopen at any time.
Description of Industry
During the past decade or so, the natural food segment of the retail food industry has been increasing at a rate considerably faster than the conventional food industry. While no exact statistics are available, it has generally been reported in various trade journals that the size of the natural and local food market has been growing at a rate of between 5% and 10% per year. This increase has been due to several factors, including a broadening of the demographic characteristics that are positively correlated to natural food demand, an overall increase in consumer awareness relative to food and dietary issues, a greater interest among consumers relative to shopping for natural food, organic produce, hormone-free meant and poultry, etc., and increasing interest in consuming locally-grown food and an increasing assortment of natural food merchandise being produced and brought to market every year.
Overall Marketing Strategy
The marketing strategy for Co-op Market is based on the concept of a co-op food store in the normal sense of the term, with an emphasis on natural, organic, and locally-produced merchandise. It is based on a store format that will feature a relatively complete array of food store departments. It is based on a program of sales promotion and advertising that will permeate the trade area on a regular basis, in order to convey information about the store, its location and its product mix. It is based on an overall image of quality merchandise and knowledgeable customer service, provided in a facility that conveys an environment of ambiance, intimacy and community. Finally, it is assumed that there will be a level of store management that is knowledgeable and experienced, with a significant amount of market and marketing savvy.
We are working with the owner of the old Foodland store to lease up to 8000 sq. ft. on the east end of the building, Co-op Market has signed a Letter of Intent with the building owners. The owners will donate any of the grocery equipment that is still there to the Co-op Market. The Foodland location was a popular location during its day as a grocery store. It is near the downtown area where many people work in the state, court, borough, and city offices and other downtown based private sector businesses. It is near to south Fairbanks which has no grocery store other than a couple of convenience markets. The Vision Fairbanks plan calls for a downtown grocery store and Co-op Market can fill that niche.
Advertising and Promotion
Co-op Market will engage in a program of sales promotion and advertising that will permeate the trade area on a regular basis. Co-op Market plans on hiring an experienced natural food store manager who will be familiar with marketing strategies that are successful for natural food stores. Co-op Market will join the national co-op organization (National Cooperative Grocers Association) that schedule and promote sales events and specials throughout the year such as the CO-OP Advantage program. Co-op Market can engage in community events and activities that will bring awareness to the store.
Co-op Market is currently being governed by an interim board but a loosely-assembled working group is doing most of the work now. Co-op Market has/is working with the Northwest Co-op Development Center in Olympia, WA. Dave Lacey of the working group attended two workshops on co-op development put on by the NWCDC. The material from the workshops is on the Co-op Market web site at www.fairbankscoop.org. Co-op Market has/is working with the CDS Consulting Co-op in Putney, VT. CDS Consulting Group is a group of consultants with many years of experience in operating and starting natural foods co-ops. They have the expertise to assist Co-op Market in every aspect of getting started and operating in the future. Co-op Market can use these two groups to assist Co-op Market in acquiring a good, experienced general manager to manage the store opening and the subsequent operation of the store. Hopefully our local folks can be trained to take over store management at some future point.
Critical Risks and Assumptions
FCCM is assuming that there will be community support that will enable FCCM to be capitalized at a level that will support the startup and operation or the co-op. FCCM is assuming that the national recession does not affect Fairbanks as much. FCCM is assuming that as imported food gets more expensive due to transportation and fertilizer costs consumers will want to shop locally to eliminate some of the carbon miles from the imported food sold locally. FCCM is assuming that consumers will want to shop at a local co-op and be supportive for community and environmental reasons. FCCM is assuming that the competitive environment will be relatively unchanged in the future. FCCM is assuming that the demand for natural, organic products will continue to grow as consumers become more aware of their responsibility toward Mother Earth and their own health. FCCM is assuming that the government employees who work downtown will continue to be employed and that there are no big layoffs in state and local government coming in the future.
FCCM’s pricing strategy will be to price competitively with the indirect competition such as Safeway and Fred Meyer. FCCM will work with the national co-op association (National Cooperative Grocers Association) on price specials and promotions under the CO-OP Advantage program.
FCCM hired G2G Research Group to do a sales forecast analysis for the co-op at the Foodland site. That study concluded that FCCM could have sales according to the following: Year of Operation (Foodland Site)
2011 $2.32 million
2012 $2.66 million
2013 $3.22 million
2014 $4.28 million