by Timothy Rutt
The directors of the Arroyo Food Co-op proposed starting the long-birthing community market up as early as next month, using a "prepay pre-order" model leading up to the eventual opening of a store.
The proposal, which will be voted on by the membership, is a plan to create cash flow for the organization as it works toward opening its storefront at 494 N. Wilson in Pasadena.
The proposal would set up an online ordering portal for members, as well as making printed ordering forms available for offline orders. Products would be prepaid online or by cash or check. The products would then be available for pickup, with at least one pickup time during the week and one for the weekend.
The proposal includes offering non-perishable items for the first three months, with fresh produce available sometime during months 4 to 6. The proposal is counting on the participation of at least 100 of the co-op's 700 members every week, buying about $50 per week.
According to Co-op President and Treasurer Alex Berrie, the co-op is currently burning through $4,000-$5,000 of capital per month. Funding sources to date have included memberships at $300, which can be paid over ten years, as well as loans from the members to get the store opened. The co-op is also seeking other grants and loans, but a prepaid pre-order system would allow income to come in before the formal market is opened, and allow the market to retain manager Doug Zilm, who Barrie said needs to have more working hours.
The proposal was made to the membership at the annual meeting on Saturday, Dec. 14, at the storefront. Co-op director Zak Berrie told the members that the plan would require commitments from the members for weekly purchases, and volunteer help to sort and distribute the prepaid items.
Members have been sent an email, asking them to vote on the proposal by 5 PM December 18.