Here’s a a plea from Jono Niger alerting us all to the need for help to save the Village Co-Op in Leverett as a market as well as a cafe/restaurant.
Jono Niger is on the co-op’s board.
> The Leverett Village Co-op is a special place for many of you and it needs your love now more than ever.
> The Co-op is in a severe financial crisis. If you want to see the co-op survive we need all hands on-deck. Our little neighborhood grocery and hang-out space will be gone in months or even weeks if the community doesn't step up.
> We know that the many changes at the co-op have been challenging; lunch menu, bakery, layout of store, new management after a long-serving manager. The changes have been intended to attract as many people as possible and to reach out to those who not only have shopped there for years, but to those who have not, and are looking for a local place to eat and shop. The food store retail and co-op culture has been changing rapidly these last years. It has become harder to maintain a small grocery without expanding the food service. Most co-ops (especially our style of small rural ones) have needed to do this kind of food service to stay afloat. But we know that maintaining the grocery aspect is essential for local needs.
> We attempted to get loans from lenders and have been turned down.
> But…We have begun a Capital Campaign and already gotten almost $30,000 in loans and donations; but we’ll need more. Right now the store is in debt over $200k to vendors. We are in active negotiation with them in order to restock the shelves so we have a good selection for people to buy from again. We need to pay down that debt to get inventory flowing again and raise more funds to improve the store with new refrigerators (to lower the electric bill), an espresso machine, expanded kitchen menu, patio, solar panels for energy, and much more.
> What You Can Do:
> •TELL your friends, family and local network what's happening and ask people to support the Co-op
> •SHOP at the store. Even if inventory is low, the store cannot stay open without business
> •GIVE. Buy pre-pay cards, give a donation or loan
> •VOLUNTEER. We are in need of people to step up in many ways. Can you help in some way to reduce an expense at the co-op or help raise funds? Can you organize volunteers to take on some tasks at the store?
> •MAKE SUGGESTIONS: Let us know what you see could help make the Leverett Village Co-op succeed
> There is a board meeting scheduled for Tuesday, October 15th at 7:00pm at the Co-op. Come participate. Give us your feedback and hear more about plans we are developing.
> This community has stepped up and done so much for this store over the last bunch of years; new roof, fixed the ice damming and leaks, schmooze space flooring, venting, painting, and more. And now our co-op needs some more help.
> Please Help in any way you can. We are all very busy—there is so much happening in each of our lives. But our little neighborhood grocery needs the community to survive.
> (feel free to forward this to your friends)
> (I can send loan or donation materials-please ask)
> Jono Neiger
> 163 Rattlesnake Gutter Rd
> Co-op Board member