the state

– of staunton. by vastate
Friday, 3 April 2009, 10:27
Filed under: -of eats, -of green, -of harrisonburg, -of jhumphrey, -of localism

i want to go hang out in staunton.

and pick up some groceries here:


Local food tastes better and it’s better for you. Food purchased from mainstream supermarkets or big-box stores has been in transit or cold-storage for weeks. The nutritional benefits erode with time. By contrast: food purchased at George Bowers Grocery has less distance to travel. It can ripen on the vine longer. It comes to you in better condition and is better for you.

Keep money in Staunton. We hire and source locally. And, our business is partially the result of to an innovative local program that supports entrepreneurs (thanks, SCCF!). Spending money at George Bowers Grocery recycles it in our local economy. A dollar spent locally generates twice as much income for the local economy according to a study by the New Economics Foundation in London.

i noticied that this ADORABLE store was made possible by the staunton creative community fund.


The Staunton Creative Community Fund creates and strengthens socially equitable, environmentally sound, and economically viable enterprises through finance and development.

Loans to Small Businesses
We offer direct loans ranging from $1,000 to $35,000 for new and existing small businesses.  We also partner with local banks to build your commercial credit and to meet all your business financing needs.

hmmmm….sounds like something that our own friendly city food co-op could use.


my mother-in-law, kathleen temple, recently forwarded me some email communication she had with FCFC board member, sam nickles.  her original question:

hello Friendly City Food Co-op friends-

I haven’t heard a projection lately about when the co-op might procure a location and open the store.  I am assuming no news means that the financing is still stalled.  I would like to help to lobby the institution(s?) from which financing may come.  Is that sort of lobbying already happening, such as with the Park View Credit Union?  If so, can I help?  If not, can I help get it started?

We are members of the co-op and also members of PVCU.

and the response:

Thanks, Kathleen, we’ll definitely take you up on your offer. Ben and I have been the primary ones talking to banks, maybe 5 or 6 direct conversations with banks and USDA Rural Development Program and others over the last few months. We could use help to set up some meetings and continue to push us ahead. Give me a call and I’ll fill you in more.

We have several key components that have to move ahead in a coordinated fashion, so it’s a give and push game — promotion and event work pushes up member numbers, membership numbers must hit a threshhold o 600 so we can go back to members for loans to raise enough equity capital, banks have to be negotiated with so we know what we need to do (know their varying requirements), support programs such as USDA loan guarantees can bring banks to the table, negotiating with potential landlords on the square foot leasing space determines our financial pro forma and thus our loan needs from the banks, and additional grant/loan monies we can get from the city and JMU sustainability venture competition and Coop500 and other sources reduces the debt loan amount needed and speeds up the closing process. So it’s very complex, and we’ve done a tremendous amount of work on this over the last year, but members just don’t hear all the details.

Finally, the economy has been the biggest staller, besides the fact that we’re only at 515 families and we need to be at 600 to start a loan campaign and at 750 to 1000 to go to closing (sign the final lease). So our work is cut out for us.

so…i think that members WANT to hear the details!

personally, i was much less frustrated after reading the article on the Friendly City Food Co-Op in Edible Blue Ridge. the piece stated something to the effect that it takes the average food co-op 10 years to get off the ground.

but the board of FCFC weren’t the ones to tell us this information.

again, i wonder if they need to re-think their business strategy.  maybe talk to some of the NUMEROUS staunton businesses based around local and sustainable food that seem to be thriving…

or if you have done this already, let us know!


2 Comments so far
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Hey! Thanks for mentioning us on your blog. We’d love to give you a tour of our tiny neighborhood grocery next time you’re in town. Call ahead, or just show up and say hello.

Yes, SCCF (Staunton Creative Community Fund) was really instrumental in our start-up. It’s one of several progressive initiatives in town. Another thing to check out is Staunton Green 2020 , a group whose aim it is to make our area greener.

Lots of good stuff happening here!

Comment by George Bowers Grocery

[…] love co-ops.  i’ve professed my undying love several times on this very […]

Pingback by – of why i’m not a member yet. « the state

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