We are a group of regular folks working hard to open a community-owned grocery store in McHenry County, IL and we hope you will join us!
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Our timeline has been updated! Click on the image below for a full size timeline.
We doubled our ownership in 2021 and successfully raised the money to build our store. Our next steps are to continue GROWING OUR OWNERSHIP and BUILDING our store in Woodstock, Illinois.
The idea was first hatched between a few friends in a conversation about improving the resilience of our community. Many conversations and phone calls later, in March 2013, a group of a few dozen people gathered on a cold winter evening and made the collective decision to do whatever it takes to open a community-owned grocery store in McHenry County. They organized a steering team, surveyed the community and pulled together a mailing list of people who like the idea of opening a food co-op. Since that first meeting, there have been many, many more.
In January of 2014, the McHenry County Food Cooperative (d/b/a Food Shed Co-op) was incorporated under Illinois Cooperative Law. Soon after incorporation, we celebrated our birthday on Earth Day and started to sell ownership shares in the co-op. The first board of directors was elected by our owners in October of 2014. We are continually reading, networking, hosting guest speakers, taking field trips to visit food co-ops and attending workshops, webinars and conferences to learn more about cooperatives. We are hard a work, spreading that knowledge to our community through events, movie screenings, webinars and workshops. Here's a list of our success to date.
- Participating in more than 250 events.
- Winning a USDA LFPP Grant.
- Completion of a market study in which consultants, specialists in cooperatives and the natural foods grocery industry, determined that we have what it takes to be successful.
- We reached 500 owners by mid-2016 and the Food Shed Co-op began searching for a store location. Our growth to 500 owner-members (in near record time) helped us win the Food Coop Initiative Seed Grant as one of the top food coop startups in the country!
- In December, 2020, the Food Shed Co-op announced it had purchased land for our grocery store at the intersection of US HWY 14 and Lake Shore Drive between Woodstock and Crystal Lake, Illinois. This news accelerated our growth!. The board set a goal to reach 1200 owner-members by July 2021 at which time a capital campaign would be begin.
- Just shy of 1200 owner-members by July of 2021 allowed the board to make a decision to launch a capital campaign to raise the money to build our community-owned grocery store. The capital campaign was called the Community Investment Campaign (CIC). The campaign goal was to raise $1.75M in the community thus reducing our dependence on commercial (expensive) lending sources. The CIC was launched on August 15, 2021 and scheduled to end October 15, 2021. As of October 15th our start up food co-op had raised just over $1M dollars! The CIC was extended for another month until the end of November, 2021 to try to complete its goal. The campaign ended on November 30, 2021 only $48,000 short of the $1.75M CIC goal. The board consequently voted to move forward to start building the store in 2022.
Our owners and volunteers continue working every day to spread the word about the many benefits of a community-owned grocery store. Our ownership numbers continue to GROW daily! If you are NOT YET an owner, sign up now to become a Founding Owner!