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Users’ Guide to the Sources & Uses Budget

A Sources and Uses budget (S&U) is one of the most important business planning tools that a startup co-op will use. The primary purpose of the S&U is to ensure that co-op organizers know how much money will be needed to open their storefront and where that money will come from. As long as your combined capital from all sources equals (or exceeds!) the expenses you will incur to open the store and provide necessary operating capital, you should be able to get a food co-op open. This guide will walk you through all the pieces that make up the budget and explain their importance.

The FCI Guide to Starting a Food Co-op – download

Our comprehensive guide for groups starting a retail food co-op, with steps, case studies, templates, and more for every stage from organizing to implementation. NOTE: This FREE DOWNLOAD will automatically load to your default download site when you click on it.

The FCI Guide to Starting a Food Co-op – hard copy

Our comprehensive guide for groups starting a retail food co-op, with steps, case studies, templates, and more for every stage from organizing to implementation.  PURCHASE A COPY.

Cooperatives and the US Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has opened its’ doors to working with startup cooperative businesses. This is exciting news as it makes several of the SBA resources available to co-ops now. There remains an obstacle  for cooperatives in meeting the requirement of a loan guarantor.  Discussions on that front continue between the SBA and cooperative leaders. Learn more here.

Legal Primer

Must read – incorporation, articles and by-laws, membership, equity, liability, patronage,  more.

Love Those Lawn Signs!

Lawn signs, yard signs—anyway you look at them, these colorful signs honor your owners while showing the whole community that the co-op is coming.

Up & Coming videos

View selected workshops that were recorded at past conferences.

Development Flowcharts By Stage

Download to assist in your 4 in 3 planning. A graphical flowchart for each stage, and an over-sized one for your planning wall.

Bylaws Basics I & II

Bylaws establish guidelines for how your organization will run. Learn the best practices for startups co-ops when writing their bylaws.

Insurance 101 for Food Co-ops

Dane Meisler of Kapatoes Insurance Services discusses the insurance needs of health food stores and retail food co-ops at all stages—from startup to store opening.

Taxes and Accounting for Co-ops

Webinar features a CPA sharing tax and financial record requirements and best practices for startups and newly opened co-ops.

River Valley Market: A Startup Case Study

This webinar reviews the startup  steps of  River Valley Co-op in Northampton, MA, which opened in June 2009.

Directories of Open Co-ops

Three sites that list open co-ops, as well as some startups.

When the Working Capital Runs Dry

This webinar from the Up & Running track of a past food conference addresses tracking, projecting, managing capital, and raising more after opening.

Mentoring Can Make All the Difference

Established Co-ops Helping Startups: Cooperative Grocer Magazine article by Jacqueline Hannah in March-April 2016.

Store Size: The Goldilocks Solution

This webinar explains how to right-size your co-op to ensure you serve your community’s needs, create a sustainable income stream, and have a maximum impact on your mission.

Branding Stage 3: implementation and opening the doors

Branding Time Three Series: How do we make sure our brand is expressed in our store design?

Designing Your Co op

What does your co-op design have to say for itself? This webinar looks at the importance of appearance, décor, color, signage, and not getting ahead of yourself.

Real Estate Guide

The best location and a great store design are critical for food co-ops. Guide covers the time frame from concept design through securing the site. Check out this free download.

Hiring Your First GM

This webinar offers tools and resources to help guide your General Manager hiring process, and offer tips for helping your co-op find the GM you are looking for.

Just Food Development Timeline

Click  to download the PDF.  An example of the actual planning and implementation process from a successful start-up

A Tale of Two Co-ops

Cooperative Grocer Magazine article featuring East Aurora and Bisman food co-ops,  by Stuart Reid in Sept-Oct 2016.

A Food Co-op Business Plan Guide

This guide offers advice on the content you might use for a Stage 3 business plan—one that you will present to potential investors and lenders. Click here to download.

Bringing Grocery Stores to Low-Income Urban Food Deserts

Cooperative Grocer Magazine article by Mary Stennes Wilbourn in Nov-Dec 2015..

Monadnock Food Co-op: Case Study

From organizing to opening the store–practical insights for all stages.

Shifting Gears to Governance

Board roles shift when staff comes aboard to take on daily tasks an operations. Hear from experts about smooth transitions in broad roles.

Timelines for Members

Easy-to-share timeline based on membership goals rather than fixed dates. Article, examples, and template.