Montavilla Food Co-op nears milestones

Here’s what folks learned about the progress of their long-awaited outer East Portland food Co-op at the annual meeting …

Montavilla Food Cooperative member-owners and guests gather for their annual membership meeting.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

The Montavilla Food Cooperative (MFC) has very nearly reached its critical membership mark, and its Board is currently negotiating for a retail location in the neighborhood.

That’s what about 25 MFC members, potential members, and guests learned on Saturday morning, April 6, at the group’s annual meeting – this year held at the Threshold Brewing taproom.

Announcing that the co-op is very near its start-up membership goal is MFC Board President Caitlin Dickinson.

‘Today’s is a very exciting meeting with lots of good news, including that, as of today, we have 747 members – we need only three more before we can launch into our next stage,” said MFC Board President Caitlin Dickinson.

The idea of establishing a food co-op is finding acceptance in the area, she said, “Because, in general, co-ops are better for the environment; they support the local businesses; and also support getting more local farmers and makers of local products into a retail outlet,” Dickinson told East Portland News.

Encouraging people to take an active role in the co-op is MFC Project Manager Colby Clipston.

Calling for member-owners to join the board or one of their committees during the meeting, MFC Project Manager Colby Clipston explained, “Many committee or Board positions are relatively small; but even a couple of hours a month can really help.”

Dickinson followed up, saying, “We’re asking everyone to help ‘spread the word’ about our co-op through person-to-person contact, social media, yard signs, and merchandise.”

MFC Director Paul Dewey shares information about a potential location, and co-located business opportunities.

With news all were eager to hear, MFC Director Paul Dewey started off his segment of the meeting, announcing “We have identified a building for the co-op; and the discussions are in the beginning stage.

“We have a ‘letter of intent’ which outlines the terms that we like to see in the lease,” Dewey said. “After we have convinced the owner to do this then we’ll go through and reveal the specific terms. It’s very exciting!”

Although questioned about the location of potential site, Dewey said, “We are under a nondisclosure agreement with the building owner; and, until we actually reach an agreement, it won’t be revealed – other than to say it is within walking distance of my house in Montavilla.”

Part of the agreement, Dewey commented, is “When you see banners go up on the building, you’ll know we’ve reached an agreement and have the property owner’s signature [on the lease].”

The building under consideration for the new MFC site will need relatively few tenant improvements, Director Paul Dewey says.

Two architects are developing proposals of how to develop the space; it could include a bakery, café, and even a credit union kiosk, Dewey conjectured.

With the lease in hand, the MFC will be able to calculate how much money they need to raise. To that end, the co-op has drafted a capital fundraising campaign, in which they plan to offer individual capital campaign lenders a rate of return on notes, similar to the level charged by banks for loans.

After the meeting, participants line up for slices of bubbling hot Flying Pie Pizzeria, the local restaurant donating to the meeting.

MFC Board Election Results

Candidates up for election were voted in – approving Director Paul Dewey, Director Bruce Foey, Jr.; Vice President Ali Hussain; Director Christian Parker, and Secretary/Treasurer Courtney Yan.

“Now is a great time to become a MFC member; people can sign up online, or send us a check,” Board President Dickinson encouraged. For more information, see the official MFC website: CLICK HERE.

© 2019 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™

 

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