Food Coop membership drive, reaching one household at a time

Okay, so it may not be Publisher’s Clearing House visiting Brian Samuelson (left) at his home in Rockford, but he is a winner. Samuelson is the 139th member to join the Crow River Food Coop. Doug White (right) is going door-to-door with other volunteers to drum up support for a member owned grocery store.

Okay, so it may not be Publisher’s Clearing House visiting Brian Samuelson (left) at his home in Rockford, but he is a winner. Samuelson is the 139th member to join the Crow River Food Coop. Doug White (right) is going door-to-door with other volunteers to drum up support for a member owned grocery store.

By Linda Herkenhoff

If you lived in a nice little bedroom community just west of “the cities,” and really wanted the wanted the convenience of local shopping and the opportunity to promote local business, what would you do? How far would you be willing to go?

Residents of the Rockford-Greenfield area were kicking that dilemma around for years after losing their local grocer. Rockford’s city staff worked diligently on attracting a replacement to the area but, although they did garner interest a couple of times, were unable to get a commitment from and established food retailer. Then the idea of a coop was introduced, and it looked like a good fit for the community. It would be a member owned food cooperative full service grocery store. Much of the groundwork is in place and the Crow River Food Coop group has been hard at work finding out how co-ops work, and what they need to get up and running, and remain sustainable.

One of the most important things needed to open the doors is membership. Members, with a $200 family stake, can expect — on top of convenience and quality merchandise — savings through regular discounts. The group would like to get 500 memberships in hand before opening. Currently, they have 145. There is great demand according to all surveys conducted in the area, and enough residents to support a cooperative venture, so it’s a matter of time, rolling up the old shirtsleeves and, as in the case of this latest drive, “hitting the pavement.”

The group has hosted a number of events, even neighborhood cookouts, in an effort to spread the word and introduce the benefits of membership. They will be traveling door-to-door with information and a lot of enthusiasm. They are exited and hope to see this project come to life as soon as possible. In the meantime, visit the Crow River Food Coop website at crowriverfoodcoop.com.

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