Sharing ideas and giving input for proposed Co-op relocation project
By Paul Cultrera
Since the announcement that we had found a site two blocks away on a parcel bordered by 28th and 29th Street on the west and east, and by R and S Streets on the north and south that could serve as the Co-op’s new home, we have been busy working out the details associated with such a move. Here’s a quick summary of what has been happening:
The Co-op's Bylaws require that “any loans that in aggregate exceed the net worth of the Cooperative” be authorized by the Coop’s owners. Accordingly the Co-op’s Board will call for a vote via a mailed ballot to approve the project’s financing. We had anticipated that such a vote would have taken place in mid-March, but the need to work on all of the above has pushed that timeline back. Once we have received loan proposals from the banks, we will call for a series of owner meetings where the project’s costs and benefits can be discussed prior to the vote. We will publicize these meetings in-store, on our Website, on our Facebook page and via our email list (if you are not already subscribed to that list you can do so by going here ).
As exciting as the proposed relocation is, it also generates some justified anxiety. At the March owner meeting, I was asked how I could be sure that the relocated store would generate enough sales to justify its costs. The honest answer is, of course, I cannot guarantee what the sales at a larger store two blocks away with twice the car and four times the bike parking will be, any more than I can predict the weather or the winner of the next presidential election. But I can say that there are many examples of co-ops that have made similar moves that we have studied and learned from. Not the least of which is from our own history. When we moved to Alhambra Blvd. from the Freeport Blvd. site in 1989, annual sales at the time were about $2 million. In the first year at our current site they grew by more than 100%. Within ten years they were over $13 million and now they are at $27 million. Expectations for the new store are that sales would grow by 20% in the first year and by about 45% over the course of the first four years in operation. In the last four years, without adding any sales area or parking spaces, our sales have already grown by 30%. While history does not always repeat itself, these examples do provide some comfort when I wake up at 3 a.m. from some dream in which I am standing in a new store and I’m the only person there. And I hope they may provide some context for all of us as we contemplate this venture together.