The Magic of Community and Cooperation
Old Creamery Co-op Development: Major Milestones
What our community did to transition a privately held grocery/deli/bakery into The Old Creamery Co-op
For a partial list of contributors to these heartwarming community activities follow this link.
Fall 2009 - Old Creamery owners Amy and Alice meet with the Cooperative Development Institute to explore their dream of transitioning the Old Creamery to a community-owned cooperative.
December 1, 2009 - Amy, Alice, and a few volunteers hold five Community Co-op Conversations to test the idea. A steering committee is formed.
January 30, 2010 - We launch the Old Creamery website.
January 31, 2010 - A community meeting is held to see if we have support for the co-op idea. Three hundred people attend and give us a resounding "Yes, indeed!"
February 12, 2010 - We join National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA).
February 15, 2010 - We join Cooperative Grocers Information Network (CGIN).
April 18, 2010 - We establish Co-op vision and mission statements.
April, May 2010 - Steering committee dives in. We outline business and communications plans, analyze financial history of current store, create future financial projections, and compile estimates for building/business/inventory purchase and Co-op start-up costs.
May, June 2010 - The Steering Committee goes on full-day visits to Berkshire, Wild Oats, Greenfields Market, Leverett, and Putney VT Co-ops. The advice and assistance we receive prove invaluable.
July 1, 2010 - We hold orientation and training sessions with Creamery staff and hear concerns from staff about possible co-op impact on their jobs.
July 30, 2010 - We establish a member-owner equity share price of $150 and launch our founding member-owner drive.
August 6, 2010 - The Old Creamery Co-op is incorporated as a legal entity in Massachusetts.
August 11, 2010 - We reach 50 member-owners!
August 15, 2010 - We establish a revolving equity fund for people in our community who could not otherwise afford to join the Co-op.
August 20, 2010 - We reach 100 member-owners!
August 24, 2010 - First official Board of Directors meeting is held.
September 11, 2010 - We reach 150 member-owners!
September 19, 2010 - The community celebrates 10 years of Alice and Amy’s ownership of the Old Creamery, and we hold our first Member-Owner Appreciation Day.
September 19, morning - We reach 200 member-owners!
September 19, afternoon - We reach 250 member-owners! (What a great community we live in!)
September 24, 2010 - The Old Creamery Co-op joins the Neighboring Food Co-op Association.
October 15, 2010 - We send out over 800 surveys to member-owners, friends, and Hilltown residents.
October 21, 2010 - We reach 300 member-owner mark!
Early November 2010 - Survey returns coming in. Great response rate; over 50% from member-owners.
November 2010 - Staff survey conducted by Buildings and Grounds Committee for how we can improve their work environment.
January 7, 2011 - We reach 350 member-owners.
February 8, 2011 - Board of Directors approves the initial Co-op bylaws.
April 1, 2011 - Building and Grounds Committee completes the building redesign plan with the help and advice of many in our community.
May 1, 2011 - The Creamery implements a point-of-sale computer system for tracking purchases and to be ready for co-op patronage tracking.
June 7, 2011 - We reach 386 member-owners as our second Member-Owner Appreciation Day is held.
June 26, 2011 - We host a Community Progress Report to present our preliminary business plan for becoming a Co-op and and unveil the planed store renovations.
July 10, 2011 - Co-op wins $10,000 grant from the Food Cooperative Initiative.
July 20, 2011 - We launch our Member-Owner Loan Program looking for $250,000 in member-owner loans to capitalize our Co-op.
July 26, 2011 - We reach 405 member-owners while holding another Member-Owner Appreciation Day.
August 20, 2011 - We receive a $20,000 challenge grant from a very supportive family. All gifts or pledged gifts by August 31 will be matched dollar for dollar up to $20,000. (The challenge was met.)
August 20, 2011 - Rachel Maddow addresses 250 at sold-out Cummington Village Church. This is the top story in the Daily Hampshire Gazette and Berkshire Eagle.
August 26, 2011 - We hold a great musical fundraiser with Avery Sharpe, Charles Neville, and Swing Caravan in the Plainfield Congregational Church. Close to 200 attend and we raise $3,479.
September 15, 2011 - Total gifts from individuals reach $195,000, and we reach 450 member-owners.
October 1, 2011 - Co-op awarded $23,000 Rural Business Development Grant through Field To Table, a regional co-op development nonprofit.
December 25, 2011 - We reach 480 member-owners.
December 28, 2011 - We receive a $3,000 gift challenge if 20 new members join in the next week.
January 5, 2012 - Two major goals achieved: 500 member-owners and $200,000 in gifts.
January 31, 2012 - Our comprehensive Business Plan is completed and discussions with outside lenders get under way.
February 10, 2012 - The Creamery's co-op transition is featured on the front page of The Berkshire Eagle.
May 4, 2012 - Florence Savings Bank commits to $536,000 commercial loan package.
May 11, 2012 - Three generous members offer a $25,000 challenge if we can raise $75,000 in new loans or gifts by May 31.
May 30, 2012 - We reach 518 founding member-owners.
May 31, 2012 - Our community meets the May challenge and then some.
June 3, 2012 - Final loan pledges put us over the top. All fundraising is complete.
June 12, 2012 - Contractors are invited to submit bids for the planned renovations of our building and parking.
July 5, 2012 - Our liquor license transfer application is submitted. This is our last step to get to closing.
September 24, 2012 - The Old Creamery Co-op hires first General Manager.
October 17, 2012 - Our liquor license transfer is approved by the Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission.
November 6, 2012 - We did it!! As of 3:51 p.m. this day, the Old Creamery Cooperative became the owner of the Old Creamery business and property!