Community Investment Campaign FAQ

Also known as a Capital Campaign which is an effort by an organization to raise a significant amount of money in a specified period of time to fund a one-time need—in our case, funding the creation of our community-owned grocery store, the Food Shed Co-op, as a community investment.

Co-ops, because of their unique legal structure, have the ability to raise capital from owners through preferred shares, loans and donations. On average, food co-ops raise about 50% of the capital required to open their doors from owners. Capital raised from owners is less expensive than bank financing, more flexible, and allows owners the opportunity to exercise the cooperative principle of Economic Participation. The opportunity to invest in our local food system to help build a more ethical, resilient, and sustainable supply chain is a unique opportunity for our community.

As a Food Shed Co-op owner, you bought at least two common shares. These common shares are tied to several owner benefits, including future patronage dividends, and voting rights within our democratic organization, One Owner = One Vote. Common shares funded our outreach and start-up efforts but represent about 7% of the capital needed to open our store. As an Owner, you have the exclusive opportunity to invest further in your community-owned grocery store, your community and your values. Owner investments demonstrate a loyal customer base and reduce debt service, making the Food Shed Co-op more resilient.

You have the opportunity to earn a respectable return and gain the satisfaction of knowing your money will be invested locally, increasing the quality of life for our entire community, supporting a venture that aligns with your values, and is the key to opening our store! The Food Shed Co-op Community Investment Campaign offers a unique opportunity that is not tied to the volatility of the overall stock market but does come with risk. It very literally moves money from Wall Street to Main Street, where it can make tangible things happen within our community.

Our campaign is targeted to raise $1.75 million and expected to run from August 15 through October 15, 2021. The total funding required is $4.33M and is broken out in the following pie chart. The Food Shed Co-op Finance Committee is currently working with local banks to secure the building and equipment loans.

Yes, to maintain our timeline to open in 2022, we must raise all our funding which includes owner investments, donations, grants and commercial financing by the end of 2021.

Investments will fund construction, hire staff, purchase equipment, fund working capital and stock the shelves.

Any adult Illinois resident can purchase preferred shares. Food Shed Co-op owners, who are Illinois residents, also have the option to make an interest-earning loan to the Food Shed Co-op.

  • Preferred Shares: Any adult resident of Illinois can purchase up to 10 preferred shares at a price of $1000 each. Since owners already own 2 shares of common stock and the maximum shares of any type allowed is 10 per Illinois cooperative law, 8 is the most an owner can purchase.
  • Loans: Eligible owners can make a loan starting at $10,000 (or more) to the Co-op and earn interest. Eligible owners do have the option to buy preferred shares AND make a loan.

More information is available in our Owner Only Investor Packet or non-owners can request more information by emailing [email protected].

Contact [email protected] with your contact information and we will setup a call with one of our investment campaign members, provide you with the documentation and answer any questions.

Yes, if you are an owner of the Food Shed Co-op you are eligible to purchase up to 8 Preferred Shares of stock and also extend a loan. Non-owners are not eligible to make a loan but they can purchase up to 10 Preferred Shares of stock. Both options require residence in Illinois.

Purchase preferred shares, then if you can invest more, consider a loan in addition to your shares. Selecting low or zero interest on your loans are also extremely beneficial to the co-op. Optionally, large tax-deductible donations will skip the paperwork and are the best way to support the co-op.

The investments in preferred shares and loans will be held in a secure escrow bank account pending receipt by the Cooperative of a minimum amount of $1,750,000 and a further determination by the Board that sufficient funding and feasibility requirements are met to proceed with building the store. If the necessary conditions have not been satisfied on or before July 1, 2022 (unless the Community Investment Campaign is extended or earlier terminated by our Board of Directors), investments will be returned.

As with any investment in a business, there are risks to your investment and you are required to read our investment documents prior to investing.

The campaign ends on October 15, 2021. Funding must be secured by this date in order to meet our current timeline and goals.

A joint subscriber can be designated on the investment agreements and optionally a beneficiary form can be filled out so when the cooperative is notified about the deceased, the investments will transfer to the beneficiary.

The store will include permanent recognition for all who participate financially in the campaign. The Food Shed Co-op will honor the wishes of those who would like to remain anonymous.

Thanks for asking! There are a number of ways that you can help:


Preferred Shares

Preferred Shares are stock that could yield annual dividends. Any Illinois resident can participate and buy up to 10 total Food Shed Co-op shares at $1,000 per share. Outside of donations, Preferred Shares are the most co-op friendly way to invest in the Food Shed Co-op and should be considered a long-term investment (15+ years). They can yield annual dividends but like most stock investments, there is risk and no guarantees.

Dividend distributions on the Preferred Shares will be made at the Board’s discretion. The dividend rates applicable to your Shares depends on the investment amount. Dividends have target rates of up to 5%. However, in any given year the Board, in its discretion, may choose to distribute a smaller amount or no amount at all based on the financial performance of the co-op in any given year.

The Shares may not be sold to third parties. Instead, they may only be sold back to the Co-op, subject to the Board’s approval. The Co-op does not plan to redeem Shares before the Co-op becomes profitable and all loans are repaid, which may occur 15 years from the date of investment, but it is not guaranteed.

Yes, but to be an owner, you need to retain two shares of common stock. Any additional common shares that you have purchased can be seamlessly converted to preferred shares. Through a streamlined process in this campaign, the Co-op will purchase back additional common shares and then apply the funds to the purchase of preferred shares.


Owner Loans

Loans are a 15-year investment with interest rates up to 4% based on the amount of the loan. Loans are available to Food Shed Co-op Owners only who want to make a large investment, $10,000 or more.


Donations

Any person or business who wants to support the Food Shed Co-op can donate through the options located on our donations webpage. Tax deductible options are available.


The Project

Yes. Several site evaluations and sales forecast analysis studies were performed from 2014 through 2021 by two different reputable firms, used by most food co-ops. The result is a feasible business projection. More in-depth information from these evaluations can be found in our business plan and market study summary, available upon request.

The Food Shed Co-op has already purchased the land to build our store. A successful capital campaign (raising $1.75 million by October 15 from owners and securing our commercial financing) means we can begin construction next spring with a targeted open date of fall 2022.

In late 2020, the Food Shed Co-op acquired land from the Mayo Clinic that is within the target boundaries identified by our market study. The acquired site is within the City of Woodstock, Illinois at 10806 US HWY 14, Woodstock, IL 60098.

This location and particular intersection is on the busiest highway in McHenry County and connects Woodstock and Crystal Lake, which are the two largest cities in McHenry County. The intersection includes a traffic signal with dedicated deceleration turning lanes to make access to the Food Shed Co-op safe and easy. This central location in the county is perfectly positioned to serve the entire county and is particularly accessible by bike, foot and wheelchair. This land acquisition makes it possible to build an 8000 square foot store, which commissioned market studies have indicated as the appropriate size for our trade area.

The Food Shed Co-op’s focus on community, supporting local sustainable and regenerative food producers, commitment to product transparency, and consumer education set it apart from competitors. The unique cooperative ownership model is another key differentiator that strengthens the overall business plan.

Your Food Shed Co-op will be focused on exceeding these national food cooperative grocery store statistics:

  • Cooperatives source over 3X more local food vs conventional grocery stores.
  • Cooperatives give over 4X more to local charities vs conventional grocery stores.
  • Cooperatives spend 7% more on local wages and benefits vs conventional grocery stores.