Sales over $200,000 than estimated Strong support for preferred shares program
By Paul Cultrera
On March 1 our first offering of non-voting preferred shares became available to Co-op owners. The sale of these shares was proposed as a way to help finance our store relocation. Since then, owners have shown strong support for the program as indicated by this summary of how the sale of shares had gone as of June 17:
That total is $240,000 more than we had estimated that would be sold before the opening of the relocated store. Because owners have been asking for more B and D shares to be available we are putting together the information required by the California Department of Corporations to obtain a permit to offer more of those shares for sale. It’s likely to be a few months before those shares will be available. In the meantime, there are still a number of C shares available. They sell for $500, must be held for four years and pay an annual non-compounded dividend rate of 2.5%. The sale of more shares will give owners a greater opportunity to earn a good return while supporting the success of the relocation. Details of the offering and all of the forms needed to make a share purchase are available online at www.sacfoodcoop.com/preferredshares.
Plans for the store relocation are nearing completion as updated cost estimates that will allow us to make decisions on the store’s final design have been coming in from the project’s general contractor. Not surprisingly, the current estimates are running higher than original projections due to the addition of the many energy-saving features that our architects have proposed and to the fact that the local construction market has been heating up. At the same time, sales at the store are exceeding all of our projections and adding to our profitability. That support from our customers along with the success of the share offerings will help to offset both those added costs as well as our carbon footprint.
The project’s developer has already begun the process of submitting plans to the City of Sacramento to obtain the necessary entitlements and permits. We have been receiving input from the Planning Commission as well as from groups such as the Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates and Walk Sacramento that will influence the project in positive ways. So far that process has been going well and our best estimates are that the new store will open in late spring 2015.
On other fronts, Sacramento was recently proclaimed the “Farm-to-Fork Capital of America” by regional elected officials and the State of California. The Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau has been busy planning a series of events to promote this designation. Connecting our owners and customers to the local sources of their food has been central to the Co-op’s mission for years. It’s likely that the Co-op has moved more food from local farms onto Sacramento area forks over the years than any other institution around, so it’s good to see that what we have been doing for so long is now becoming part of the local vocabulary. Farm-to- Fork Week will kick off on September 21 with the annual Autumn Equinox Celebration at Soil Born Farms. The Co-op has been Soil Born’s partner and sponsored this event for ten years and we’re happy to be part of the festivities. In addition, all summer long we’ll be running a number of Farm-to-Fork related classes and events through our Community Learning Center that will feature many of the local farms that we partner with including Blue Heron, Good Humus, Riverdog, D.E. Boldt Family Farm, Say Hay and Pacific Sun. In particular, we’re starting a series called The Farmer and the Chef that will give you the opportunity to share a meal with one of our growers prepared by one of our local chefs. Details can be found in the Enjoy section of this issue of the Reporter.
And finally, at the annual Consumer Cooperative Managers Association conference held this June in Austin, Texas our Coop’s Board President Steve Maviglio was the honored recipient of the conference’s Board Service Award. The award is given each year to a Director whose service stands out from among those at the many cooperatives around the country. Steve was recognized for the leadership he has provided during our recovery from the closing of the Elk Grove store, the controversy surrounding the proposed boycott of Israeli products, the launching of our preferred share offering and the introduction of legislation that will eliminate the difficulties that other California co-ops have encountered in attempting to offer similar preferred share programs. The Co-op has benefited greatly from his dedication, and on behalf of all of us I’d like to congratulate Steve.