As the Kensington Community Food Co-op prepares to lease their space and the South Philadelphia Food Co-op speeds past 600 members, another co-op is taking root in Montgomery County.
The Ambler Food Co-op held its first membership meeting last week after two years of organizing. This may seem like a long time to exist without setting up a storefront, but for co-ops, this process is more than setting up a store — a community also has to be built.
“First we went to the community and asked people to pledge support before actually taking money to make sure there was a critical mass of interest,” said Kathleen Casey, president of the co-op.
The co-op gathered 400 pledges of interest. Since then, it has since incorporated and formed bylaws. The Keystone Development Center, a consultancy firm for PA co-ops, also did a feasibility study free of charge. This study suggested that Ambler could financially support a food co-op.
Casey said that the co-op is close to hitting 100 members, and she hopes that milestone is reached in the next few days as more applications trickle in after the first meeting. Members pay $400 in equity, payable all at once or in installments.
The longer-term goal is to draw 1,200 members and $1.2 million in capital to launch the business.
“It’s really remarkable to us how much people come to us with a similar vision of supporting local economies and local food,” Casey said. “There’s really such an incredible interest.”
For more information on the co-op’s next steps, check out an overview of its business plan.
(Photo via Ambler Food Co-op)