Let’s Open the Doors Campaign Has Launched!

The PFC begins the drive for 1,000 new member-owners needed to open storefront location in Portland, Maine

For immediate release
October 16, 2013
Contact: Rachelle Curran Apse, rachellecurran@gmail.com, 207-400-7154,www.portlandfood.coop

Today the Portland Food Co-op launched its “Let’s Open the Doors” campaign to recruit the 1,000 new member-owners it needs to open a new storefront community owned market in Portland.

The Portland Food Co-op’s market will be member-owned, but open to the public. Building on its existing relationships with Maine producers, the co-op will carry local natural and organic products in stock, including, meat, dairy, frozen foods, health and beauty products, and beer and wine. The co-op is currently in lease negotiations for a possible location on the Portland Peninsula.

“The Portland Food Co-op came out of a community conversation in 2006 about the lack of locally owned grocery stores in Portland. In the years since then, we have built a co-op with just over 400 member-owners that has contributed to Portland’s local food scene not only by providing local food and products at a fair price, but also bringing together a community of people who care about what they buy and where it comes from,” said PFC Storefront Startup Project Manager Rachelle Curran Apse. “This campaign is about bringing that vision to
the next level by expanding the co-op’s impact on the local economy and the number of people we reach. We plan to carry the widest selection of local food and products in Portland. But we need the investments of at least a thousand new member-owners to make it happen. Simply put, the faster we can bring them aboard, the faster
we can open the store.”

The co-op needs just over $1 million to open the storefront and a major part of reaching that goal is increasing its member-ownership to 1,400. Member-owners make a one-time $100 equity investment–a share in the coop. The co-op has launched a website where new member-owners can sign up online at www.portlandfood.coop.

Currently, member-owners order food online through the current co-op operations, which is volunteer run and all ordering member-owners have a work shift. The new storefront location will be a full service grocery store, open 7 days a week, and open to the public. Member-owners will have significant benefits, including special discounts, rebates when the co-op earns surplus income, and a voice in the co-op’s decision making. Also, once the storefront is open, member-owners will no longer be required to do a work shift because the market will be fully staffed with employees.

Some of the needed funding has already come through a loan for $330,000 through the Cooperative Fund of New England (CFNE). This loan will need to be matched by member-owners. “The Cooperative Fund of New England is pleased to approve a loan for the Portland Food Co-op for its expansion to full retail operations,” said Gloria Labrecque of CFNE. “We are committed to the cooperative economy and excited to be part of the growth of the local food movement in the vibrant city of Portland.”

“After years of work, it’s definitely exciting to be at the point where we can launch this campaign, and exciting to give people the opportunity to get in on the ground floor,” said Apse. “It’s not every day that you can say you helped start a cooperative business or boost a community movement. And it’s definitely not every grocery store you walk into that you can say you own and have a say in its future. But that’s exactly what new co-op memberowners will be able to do once they join.”

The Portland Food Co-op is dedicated to serving greater Portland by creating a community owned market that will provide a wide selection of high quality and fairly priced local, natural, organic, and green products, and bringing together a community of member-owners who believe in supporting local farmers and building the local economy. Learn more at: www.portlandfood.coop.