IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT FOR FCC MEMBER-OWNERS, August 2020
We all experienced the excitement at our January 2020 gathering where it was announced that a relocation to the Wilson’s Department store building was being explored for the expansion of Green Fields Market. None of us were aware at that time of the dramatic social and financial disruption that would be created by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic only one month later.
In the intervening months, FCC staff have performed heroically to keep both of our stores open and providing essential services and food to our community. Store operations have, of necessity, been substantially altered and there has been significant impact on our business. Admirable creativity on the part of management and staff have helped enormously to weather this crisis and the federal Paycheck Protection Program loan provided an additional cushion. Every effort is being made to ensure continuity of services, but sales have been as unpredictable as the pandemic, making it challenging to offer stable near and long-term financial projections. We’ve appreciated the unflagging support of the membership as we’ve worked together to face these challenges–your kind words have meant a lot to our frontline staff!
As a result of these changing circumstances, future expansion plans require a fresh assessment. In light of this reassessment, we have allowed our initial LOI (Letter of Intent) with Wilson’s to expire, freeing us to pursue other options, while leaving the door open to exploring the Wilson’s location as a possibility. The core reasons to continue to seek GFM expansion remain valid, and have further been underscored by current events:
- Continued sustained sales growth is our most viable option to stabilize the organization.
- Our current facilities do not have the capacity to maintain the necessary consistent level of growth.
- Our current rate of income does not produce sufficient capitalization for required facility and equipment upgrades.
- Austerity measures don’t align with our values and would likely cause a downward spiral of slashing costs and collapsing revenue.
- Store size limits customer capacity.
- Lack of selection restricts likelihood of one-stop shopping.
- Lack of space for back stock increases risks from supply chain disruptions.
The challenge of coping with the pandemic has strengthened staff capabilities and resilience. Initiatives to rebuild the economy could also result in lending opportunities to help fund expansion, as they have helped in the form of payroll protection loans.
In summation, we are continuing to explore all possible GFM expansion options in accordance with previous member-owner input which stipulates that the search will remain focused on opportunities in downtown Greenfield. Staff are continuing their inventive efforts to increase and adjust services and goods at our current facilities in response to community needs and concerns. (The new Takeout program and outdoor dining area are great examples of this creative flexibility!) Consistent member-owner patronage will also be essential to help us thrive and work toward an expanded GFM. We remain excited about being part of the solution as downtown Greenfield and Franklin County navigate these challenging times. The same excitement that was evident at our last group gathering can still be felt in the ways that we continue to rise to these unprecedented times together–we feel confident that our cooperative future remains bright!
Thank You, Community!
Monday, February 9th, 2020
This photo, from board member Andy Grant, really captures the energy and excitement that was in the room at our first Community Forum on January 29th! If you were unable to attend, but are curious to know what members and community members alike were reflecting on during the conversation, please follow this link to a PDF of the questions and comments we collected on the feedback cards that evening. These have also been posted in our Member Forum. Not a member yet? Not part of the Member Forum? Follow this link to learn about joining our Co-op, and, this link to sign up for the forum for more updates!
Let’s Grow Together!
The Franklin Community Co-op is excited to announce that as part of our ongoing expansion exploration process, we are currently engaged in negotiating a potential partnership with Kevin O’Neil to occupy the former Wilson’s department store space on the ground floor. As a community-owned and community-grown business, we appreciate the opportunity that this transition could present for preserving this landmark space as a flagship economic anchor for downtown Greenfield and all of Franklin County. As this process continues, we will offer numerous opportunities for member, staff, and community input, and look forward to open, interactive, and cooperative conversations. We recognize the incredible legacy of this unique downtown landmark, and look forward to exploring how we might best develop it to continue to reflect the incredible community that has supported both Wilson’s and the Franklin Community Co-op.
The Franklin Community Co-op is a community-owned market, supported by 4600 (and counting) member-owners, employing just under 100 staff members, and sourcing from over 200 local suppliers! Since 1977, we have been committed to a sustainable local economy–currently, 33.84% of all of our sales are local products! We are committed to keeping our community businesses thriving—today, tomorrow, and far into the future. We know that we’re stronger together!
“The FCC Board of Directors, representing the wishes of our member-owners, is committed to keeping the co-op in downtown Greenfield to serve the whole community. We’re excited about being in conversation with our respected downtown neighbor, and hopeful that the ongoing negotiations will result in an expanded Green Fields Market becoming part of the evolving legacy of that landmark building.”
George Toulumtzis, Board President
“As a community-owned market, we are committed to serving the whole community as we consider expansion. Our member-owners, our staff, our shoppers, our suppliers and our local farmers have and will continue to inform every step of this process as we work towards a shared vision for our growth as a cooperative. The co-op believes in the future of Greenfield, and we’re excited to build towards this goal together in the coming year.”
John Williams, General Manager
We expect that as this process continues, we will have numerous opportunities for member, staff, and community input, and look forward to open, interactive, and cooperative conversations. Please mark your calendars for the first of these events on Wednesday, January 29th, at 5:30 to 7:30pm at St. James Episcopal Church, 8 Church Street, in Greenfield. We’ll be discussing:
- Our recent market study results
- The current state of our Co-op, and why we need to grow
- What growth means to our co-op
- The process ahead
- How you can participate!
Please visit this page regularly for continued updates and communications!
Are you a member, and looking for member-specific information about expansion and/or how to participate as a member-owner? Join the member forum!