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Incentive to own: Silverton Food Co-op springs forward

Screen Shot 2018-04-03 at 11.25.56 AMBy Melissa Wagoner

As spring ushers in new energy Silverton Food Co-op members ready themselves for another year with big goals on the horizon.

“We’re now, more than ever, unified in moving in the right direction,” board president Jason Codner said.

Codner said a good deal of this invigoration is owing to a recent influx
of new board members, volunteers and the addition of several events to the year’s calendar.

“With the new board we just got this surge,” Codner said. “We’re feeling so energized to move forward.”

The new board members include; Kalia Miller, Whitney Ulven, Julia Knudsen and Katie Miller – all of whom are on board to take the co-op to the next level.

“I think we’ve reached the choir and now we need to reach those people that need to see a little more legitimacy,” Codner said.

Currently at 393 owners, the co-op’s next goal is to reach 600 to 700, at which time they will begin the next phase –
site selection.

 “We need to show that we’ve got the community backing us and customer support,” Codner explained. “We hope when we cut the ribbons on the place that we have 1,000 owners.”

Once the requisite number of owners is reached and the site chosen, funding will be obtained through owner support.

“Owners can loan the co-op money at a reasonable interest rate,” Codner explained. “You’re able to invest in something that reaps more than a
money market.”

Codner and his board recently gained a new confidence in the future of the co-op and the plans for a brick and mortar store when, this past September, they received the results of a market study showing the community of Silverton could reasonably support a 4,500 sq. ft. store.

“Now we are able to articulate things more because we have some more data,” Julia Knudsen, board secretary, said. “We would love to see it open by 2020.”

In the meantime, the board’s main goal is garnering more community support. They are doing this through owner events like the pop-up co-op, community meet-ups and the annual farm to fork dinner. They are also working with local documentarian Michael Turner, who will be producing a series of five minute short videos profiling co-op owners and farmers.

“Showing the community who the co-op is,” Turner explained.

Partnership with the community is a big part of what the co-op stands for and, to that end, the co-op recently joined the Silverton Chamber of Commerce and partnered with nine Silverton businesses offering owners Co-op Owner Rewards (C.O.RE). Now each owner, upon purchase of a $150 ownership share, will receive a C.O.RE card which provides discounts at participating Silverton businesses on things like food, drinks and even yoga.

Upon approaching local businesses Codner was thrilled by how receptive the proprietors were to the idea of supporting the co-op.

“They truly believe this is going to be something great for the community and they want to get behind it,” he said,

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