November 19th, 2020
A Note From the Board – and polished floors!
2020 endures, and we endure 2020. A year unlike any other seems mercifully just a couple of months from ending. Your community Co-op presses on through tough and uncertain times.
The Springfield Food Co-op has remained a singular refuge for us all. We are a Co-op marked by service and togetherness, a collective dedicated to overall community renewal and growth, and to the development and nurturance of local and regional makers, growers, designers, workers, farmers, creators, and consumers.
I remain inspired and amazed at – but I am no longer surprised by – the resilience, courage, creativity, and dedication of our General Manager Neomi Lauritsen and our Springfield Food Co-op staff. Since the pandemic hit, Neomi and her frontline team have undertaken multiple metamorphoses and met each challenge.
Vermont “shut down.” A strictly brick and mortar operation transformed into an online order/curbside pick-up business. Vermont re-opened, and the Co-op became a hybrid brick and mortar-slash-online ordering curbside pickup business. All the while, the capital campaign that began back in the summer of 2019 has reached more than 90% of our goal to pay for a more spacious downtown store in the Peoples Bank Building – a store with greater square footage (more “breathing” room), more shelf space, and more of what sustains our members, suppliers, customers, and staff. And, by coincidence, more room for gathering, for community togetherness, including that 2020 pandemic dining essential, outdoor seating!
We are almost there. However, we still need donations and investments. We need the help of everyone who is able to contribute. Calling any and all “angel” investors to help us reach our fiscal “safe space.”
If you have the means, please consider giving a little more to secure a safer and more bountiful future for your Co-op and our community, so that the spring celebration of a brand new store at 6 Main Street marks a renewal like no other for downtown Springfield and for the Springfield Food Co-op.
–John Vorder Bruegge
Springfield Food Co-op Board Member
September 21st, 2020
More progress photos, and a note from our Front End Manager.
The co-op would not exist if not for the folks who saw a need for a co-op in our community. With perseverance, dedication, and sacrifices for a common goal, they put in the hard work to make our co-op a reality.
Now, here we are in 2020, again contributing to co-op history!
This year saw us working through record days, inventing and implementing a curbside process, reopening with the need to adopt additional safety protocols, adapting to the weekly changes in sales, and supply chain issues- along with communicating all of these changes to our customers and members.
Throughout this time, management has held the co-op crew’s needs–our safety and well-being–at the forefront of all decisions. They’ve worked to identify resources to fund hazard pay, listened to our concerns, solicited our opinions, and helped when we grew tired.
Then there’s the expansion and move to downtown Springfield. Funding, equipment lists, construction, staffing needs, organizational charts, store design and so very much more. All this while continuing the day-to-day business of running a co-op.
We’re proud to continue this work, with the perseverance and dedication it takes to nurture the opportunities and growth that exist for the co-op and our community.
Thank you, as always, for being part of the co-op and part of our story! Take a peek at the latest photos of 6 Main Street, future home of your co-op.
Front End and Marketing Manager
September 10th, 2020
Another sneak peek!
Another look inside our new store! Lots of exciting progress is being made! Current store plans include a cafe seating area, expansive bulk and produce sections, and easier to navigate check-out areas. We’re all so excited to share this beautiful new space with you, friends. Got questions about the new store at 6 Main Street? Want to learn how you can help us out? Call us at (802) 885-3361, or contact us here.
July 2nd, 2020
It’s a first peek at our new downtown location! In the not-so-distant future this space will be filled with more local products, fresh produce, full bulk bins and there…just in front of those windows…will be the seating area. It’s been a tough year, friends, but this gives us a bit of hope. We can’t wait to share our progress with you!
June 26th, 2020
Springfield Food Co-op Expansion Update
Springfield Vermont is full of life and hope in the midst of all the turmoil in our nation and world. There are many people pulling the yoke to build a more vibrant and sustainable community. The Springfield Food Co-op is especially buoyed by the response to our plan to relocate to the downtown.
Donations, grants and investments, large & small, have contributed to this dream becoming a reality. The member/owners have invested over $379,000. Businesses, foundations and individuals have donated over $205,000. The Vermont Community Foundation has contributed $250,000 in grants and investments, including a $100,000 grant to the project from an anonymous donor in May 2020. Vermont State Employee Credit Union has invested $125,000 to help us reach our goal.
Many thanks to those who have contributed!
We still need to raise just under $200,000 to stay on budget. Please contact Neomi at the store (802-885-3361) or email@example.com if you are able to help.
The interior demolition started May 11, 2020 and the space is almost empty except for the Peoples United Bank which is staying in the building. We are excited to share pictures with you as the construction progresses! Stay tuned for more info!
–Neomi Lauritsen, General Manager
June 8th, 2020
Dear Members of the Springfield Food Co-op,
I have been on the Springfield Food Coop board for the past 9 years and have been thrilled to be part of this movement. We have been very actively planning and working on moving the Springfield Food Coop to a larger, more appealing space for the past 3 years. Last year we entered into a contract with Peoples Bank to purchase their building and property. We finally finalized the purchase on APRIL 20, 2020.
We are currently in a 4,000 sq. ft. building that has 2,000 sq. ft. of back space and 2,100 sq. ft. of retail. The Peoples United Bank building is a 9,000 sq. ft. building – People’s United Bank is staying in 3,000 sq. ft. and the Co-op will have 6,000 sq. ft. or 2,000 of back space and 4000 sq. ft. of retail – twice as much retail space as we currently occupy.
The construction has begun and we are in the process of doing demolition while working with our consultants – store designers, architects, and contractors. The process is going very well. If you are interested in helping with the project please call me at the number below.*
We have raised or have committed almost 90% of the money needed for the project and are hoping to be able to open between 11/15/20 and 1/15/21 dependent on many issues, the least of which is Covid 19.
While having raised 90% of the funds needed we are actively looking to raise the last 10% or about $200,000 – any help, ideas, or support is more than welcome.
This project, along with other downtown improvements, seems like it will make a huge difference to our community. I have been working in Springfield since 1975 and believe what is happening in our downtown is some of the best and most exciting changes since I began working here. I think this is so exciting and hope our membership and community can share in this “breath of fresh air” that our community is experiencing.
*Please reach out using the expansion contact form here: http://springfieldfood.coop/expansion-contact-us/
February 26th, 2020
“Why are you moving? I love the store as it is!”
Well…gosh, we love this little store, too. So many wonderful memories made here. So many bins filled, groceries stocked, customers welcomed, and babies raised. We are very fond of our funky little co-op.
But this is our reality: we just don’t have any more room. When deliveries arrive, sometimes more than one at a time, the back room becomes a hectic, crowded space that takes a whole lot of work to get organized again. It is often unsafe for more than a couple people to work in at once. As our membership and sales grow (yippee!) so does the demand for increased product availability, meaning even bigger deliveries. During lunch rush, it’s not uncommon to see lines back to the first aisle, and navigating the store can prove difficult for both customers and staff.
To continue serving our community, to provide a safer working environment for our staff, and to stay committed to our mission, we must move and grow. What will we bring to the new store? A continued love for what we do, each other, and you.
Help us build a new store that’s filled with as much love and laughter as the current one, with more room to provide us all with a better shopping and working experience! Click here to learn more about what you can do.
February 6th, 2020
Got questions about our upcoming expansion? Curious about investments? Join the conversation and learn more about our new store and move to downtown!
Join us at Trout River Brewing Company for Beverages with the Board! All are welcome to join the Springfield Food Co-op Board of Directors on February 13th, 5:30PM, at Trout River Brewing for an evening of beverages and conversation! Enjoy some locally made beer, non-alcoholic drinks, and tasty co-op snacks.
This event is open to all and wheelchair accessible.
Exciting news! Check out the progress made toward funding the co-op’s expansion and move to downtown! Member-owners of the co-op continued to show their support despite the busy holiday season and we have reached 75% of our goal…those are some pretty impressive numbers, friends.
Of course, January is all about setting goals…the key is continuing to put in the work to reach them. As we gear up and recharge our Capital Campaign, we invite our member-owners to join us in our efforts to complete the journey of expansion into our new store.
We’re fired up, we’re excited, we’re ready to make this happen…together. Let’s bring our good food and cooperative spirit to Main Street!
October 3, 2019
Submitted by Lucy Georgeff, Finance and HR Manager
The 74th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 74) opened on Tuesday, September 17. All members of the United Nations are represented in this international forum to discuss and work together on a wide array of global issues such as development, peace and security, and international law among many others.
In light of the UNGA meeting, Springfield Food Co-op is pleased to report that much of our work is aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals that were established in 2015 to guide the international community in common pursuit of solving the world’s problems. https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/
Springfield Food Co-op contributes to the positive outcomes of several of these global goals using our mission to provide accessible, wholesome food options to all, to increase the production and consumption of sustainable products, to create a stronger local economy and a better-educated community of consumers, and to provide an equitable workplace.
Your preferred shares investment today will help us further our progress toward those goals. Here are some of the projects the Co-op aims to incorporate in a larger store:
- Renewable energy as part of building design
- Reducing plastics and encouraging recycling and composting
- Increasing access to wholesome food by serving as a WIC vendor and providing lower prices on grocery basics
- Providing greater benefits to staff
- Continuing to work with community partners on education and community-building initiatives
Springfield Food Co-op members interested in this type of socially-responsible investing can contact Neomi or Lucy at 885-3363 or by filling out this contact form.
September 27, 2019
We’ve received a matching funds challenge from a long-time owner and supporter of Springfield Food Co-op! This generous owner will match any funds we receive by the end of the month up to $10,000! That means in just a few short days we could be $20,000 closer to our goal! Can we make it?
September 26, 2019
Submitted by Ali Lillie, Front-end and Marketing Manager
Starting a co-op takes some hefty work. Vision, commitment, dedication…often from a few people who see a need and understand that co-ops offer something unique and sustainable to their community. Think about that for a moment. This co-op, your co-op, started with a just a few folks and has now grown to over 2,300 member-owners! Each of us with a voice and vote for how this community business operates and the path it will take. Each member-owner contributing to the health and growth of this mighty little store.
Daily growth within this business also takes some hefty work. The work we do could be done in any number of places. So why here? The co-op model allows us to spend our days working for something bigger…a safe and welcoming space where cooperation, friendliness and a focus on community is valued and encouraged. Here, we understand that our daily work can and does contribute to the health and strength of our community. Many of us are here because of the capacity we have to do good on a daily basis. Practical hard work with an outward focus and drive.
A strong foundation and continuous commitment have culminated to create a business that employs 27 people, reinvests over $400,000 into our local economy, and works with over 200 local farmers, businesses and artisans*. You can find more information about in our Annual Report.
We’re now in the process of assessing the feasibility of expanding our store and moving to downtown Springfield where we can have a greater positive impact on our community. The cooperative model of business is one of inclusion, service, healthy food for all, and education. Simply stated, a larger store will enable us to better serve our community in all aspects.
This opportunity has been years in the making, but there is still much to be done to make it a reality. Funding a new store is once again, hefty work. Our move will not happen if funding isn’t available. This is a reality of being community owned. We need the owners of the co-op to invest in the co-op, in the co-operative model, in the co-op difference. What might we be able to do together given the ability to grow?
When will the hard work end? We hope it never will. As with other co-ops, we exist to serve our community.
September 17, 2019
Shout out to Ezra, an awesome local artist creating an exciting new expansion progress tracker for us! Be on the lookout for his project displayed in the store.
Artist’s webpage: https://leonardezra.wixsite.com/mysite
September 3, 2019
Big, BIG thank you to Will! A Springfield Food Co-op member-owner and very regular shopper, Will recently made the decision to help his co-op grow even more by investing in our preferred shares program! Through the years it has been visionaries like Will that have kept the co-op not only open, but growing and thriving. We are so very thankful!
Our preferred shares program through our Capital Campaign is an essential piece of funding for our store’s potential expansion, and offers a variety of mutually beneficial investment opportunities for member-owners.
These opportunities allow member-owners to keep their investments local, and be part of something great for our community from the ground up! To learn how you can invest give Neomi or Lucy a call at 885-3361, or simply fill out this form.
August 9, 2019
Like this rendering of our new building, our vision for a larger space in which to provide a sit-down cafe, more products, and better benefits for our staff (and more) can seem very far away. There is certainly much that needs to happen to make it a reality.
Together, the Board and management are working hard to shorten the distance. Just as there would be no co-op without the visionaries who made it happen, there is no growth without the continued support of our member-owners and our growing community.
We have begun our Capital Campaign! Like other co-ops across the country, the opportunity to invest is first offered to member-owners…our community…and the folks who have supported us right along. This keeps our money and our decisions local, which is always a priority for us! It also gives member-owners the opportunity to reap the benefits of that investment.
To date member-owners have committed over 25% of our goal of $1.57 million. This is wonderful progress since we have just begun our Capital Campaign and it confirms that many folks in our community believe in this project as much as we do! However, we have quite a ways to go before our expansion and move to downtown can be a reality.
Increasing our capacity to do more good work for and within our community is what drives us daily. Our vision for growth starts and ends with this desire. In the weeks to come we’ll be sharing more of this vision and our progress with you.
In the meantime, if you’d like more specific information or are considering investing in the co-op you can reach Neomi or Lucy at the co-op at 802-885-3361 or through this form.
“I’m excited about expansion for many reasons. One of them is the opportunity to come into the store and sit down with a friend for coffee or a yummy meal from our kitchen. Second, as a former employee I am excited that expansion will give the co-op the ability to offer more benefits to our amazing staff. And third, expanding into a larger space downtown will provide increased access to healthy foods for more of our community. I’m so excited about this and I hope you are too!”
-From Board President, Lindsay Hargis Post
July 11, 2019
“When you grow, you bring a lot of people with you.”
This is our sincerest hope as we plan our move to downtown Springfield. Growth, not for the sake of growth, but for what a vibrant, people centered, community-oriented business model can do for our town, local economy, local producers, staff members and beyond. While on the surface we are a grocery store, the very nature of the cooperative model means that we are more. Guided by the Seven Cooperative Principles, our supportive member-owners, engaged board members and committed staff, we strive daily to, simply, do good work in all its forms. Over the course of 27 years our member-owners have been visionaries! You’ve made us resilient and increased our capacity to do good work. We are very grateful to be part of this community! We hope that you will continue to support us as we embark on this exciting year. Check our website, read the newsletter, follow us on Facebook and Instagram…share the co-op vision! It promises to be a fun, cooperative experience and we want you with us every step of the way!
We are very excited to announce that Larry Kraft has been hired as our Project Manager for the Springfield Food Co-op expansion project.
A longtime member of the Springfield Food Coop, Larry was Director of Development at Springfield Medical Care Systems for almost twenty years. In that position, he oversaw fundraising, grants, and special events, including serving as emcee for the Apple Blossom Cotillion. His community activities include past president of the Springfield Rotary Club, past board member of the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce and Springfield on the Move, as well as past chair of the Springfield School Board.
“I am excited about joining the Coop team and helping it to better serve our community.”– Larry Kraft
Hi Springfield Food Co-op OWNERS!!!
By now many of you are aware that the board of directors has been exploring expansion options for the past 5+ years. It has been quite the road to get where we are today. It all started in 2015, in response to a customer survey. The board then began researching what it would take to deliver on those requests.
For me, one of the most exciting prospects as we discuss a new and larger space, is the opportunity to sit and enjoy a meal or cup of coffee with a friend in the café area. I can’t tell you how many times, both when I was on staff from 2011-2013 and since then, I have wished for this space to connect with people or just take the time to nourish myself IN OUR co-op!
I am also looking forward to the co-op reaching further into the community with more jobs, the ability to offer real benefits to our staff with increased sales, and increased access to healthy food to more people.
The feedback that I have received from many of you is one of excitement and love of the feeling of your co-op. Please know that maintaining the qualities of our beloved co-op is our number one priority as we work with architects and designers. The board is dedicated to providing the membership the features it has asked for and what the co-op needs to do in order to provide those.
As the board of directors continues to work on the feasibility of this project, there will be opportunities to show how much you LOVE YOUR CO-OP. We are launching a capital campaign at the annual meeting on June 12th and your support is crucial to making this exciting opportunity come to fruition.
– Lindsay Hargis Post President of the Springfield Food Co-op Board of Directors