Hello members!

We would like to start by thanking you for your patience. There have been several different requests for updates, and we appreciate your unconditional support as we work toward having regular updates.

We have been running on volunteer power this entire summer, with the board and several key members and volunteer consultants providing all of the support for opening the store. In brief, I’d like to summarize our progress:

June 17 – Wirth Board met with Sunrise Banks, Community Reinvestment Fund, Shared Capital Cooperative, City of Minneapolis, and Hennepin County to discuss funding package

July/August – Received commitments from all banks and entities, with a total investment of $1.1 million. McKnight Foundation also joined this package

August 15 – Lease signed with Building Blocks

August/September – GM Hiring committee worked to find our new management leader

August/September – Contractors and Architects working through floor plans and sworn construction documents.

September/October – Board working on Policy Governance development

October 12 – Our new GM, Winston Belle, agreed to terms as our new General Manager

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That’s right, our new GM is hired and ready to work! Winston is home-grown, from right here in North Minneapolis, and brings his personnel skills and business management from his former role as a district manager of a food chain. We are thrilled to have him!

Winston will be in contact with membership soon to discuss his plans. He will be mainly focused on the operations of the store and connections with members and community, including the hiring of his assistant manager and other staff as well as all the relationships with vendors and other logistical concerns.

We will update this page with Winston’s bio in the coming days, so stay tuned!

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As it stands, we are nearly ready for build-out. The banks are waiting on the sworn construction statement to be completed before releasing funding, and are also awaiting the final agreement to be signed by LEDC, our non-profit partner, who will be our direct connection to the federal grant worth $500,000. There have been many stumbling blocks and episodes of unforeseen red tape that have caused the project to be delayed, specifically with the federal grant. We extended the deadline past September for an additional 2 years, but there is required further paperwork that federal offices take weeks to process.

Members, we need you more than ever! We have applied for funding to help lead a new outreach campaign, but capacity needs to be built in many ways!

Interested in board governance? Want to help us form policies that will allow the board to effectively govern the store? We want you!

        • No experience needed! A passion for building wealth in the community is enough. We would appreciate time dedicated by members who want to see a sustainable platform developed for decades of cooperative growth. Email [email protected] for more information.
        • All members will be welcome to join us at a special State of the Co-op event, where we will invite discussion on policy development to direct the store’s immediate and ongoing goals and operations. This event to be held December 2016, more details in the coming weeks.
        • Want to be a board member? Please let us know.. We will have a formal application before the State of the Co-op Meeting in December. Currently our board is 7 members, leaving 2 open seats currently and more to be open in April.

As always, we encourage members to reach out to [email protected] if they are interested in supporting the co-op in any way! We are always eager to have new volunteers, especially with outreach efforts.

Naturally yours,
The Wirth Co-op Board