An Important Update for Our Owners and Supporters

Dear Co-op Community,

I’m reaching out to you personally today because we have a lot to report. It’s been a bit of a roller-coaster ride over here at Assabet Co-op Market. These are exciting times. Every day, we are a step closer to the reality of our community owned grocery store. With our annual meeting just ahead, we wanted to fill you in on a few things.

Our Capital Campaign is making great progress. Owners have invested more than $1.25M in interest-paying loans, and we are on track to meet our $2 million goal. Our hard-working member phone bankers have reported wonderful stories about connecting to other members in such a personal way. You have been generous, both financially and in spirit.

I am thrilled to announce that we have hired a wonderful General Manager. That commitment was just made yesterday. Sam McCormick is coming to us from a multi-year stint as co-manager of a storefront food co-op in Philadelphia. We were warned by co-op consultants not to get our hopes too high when searching for a GM because there are many more co-ops looking than there are experienced managers. Sam brings the kind of hands on experience and enthusiasm that we had hoped for, but were afraid to assume we would find.

Unfortunately, we also have some disappointing news. The Board has made the decision to pull out from our purchase of 2-6 Powder Mill Rd and seek a new site. As you know, we were thrilled to find what we thought was an ideal space in Maynard to locate our co-op. We’ve been working overtime with civil engineers, architects, store planners, and town officials. Ultimately, there were just too many hurdles to make the space work. We found that the soil would literally need “replacing” and that the existing foundation would not support our building. Additionally, there were a number of variances from the town that would have been required in order to keep the number of parking spaces we knew we needed. We would not have been able to move forward on this site and keep to our budget.

Given our investment in the location to date, you’d think this would have been a hard decision to make. It was not. We take our responsibilities seriously and are committed to building a viable business that will thrive in our community for generations. We are in a different position today than we were even six months ago. Much of the investment we made in the Powder Mill space will serve us well as we move forward. Store Design and Architecture work will largely be transferable. We are in a better position today to find an ideal location than we have ever been. (And, did I mention that Sam, our GM, also managed a green construction company for a number of years?!)

But know that, with increased knowledge and resources at our disposal, we truly see this as an opportunity to find a space that works even better. Our experience has been, and our expectation continues to be, that as one door is closed, another one opens.

Thank you for your patience, your trust in us, and your continued commitment to building our community owned store. We know our investment will be worth the effort and the wait.

Siobain Mitchell
ACM Board President