Lombard food co-op launches second round of fundraising

A group hoping to open a jointly owned grocery store in downtown Lombard faces a hastily nurturing deadline to raise $ 2.2 million.

Lombard-based Prairie Food Co-op aims to raise a total of $ 4.4 million by November 15th. It is fully financing the construction of a brick-and-mortar store at 109 S. Main St.

“We really need to have that funding in place to keep the place going,” said Kathy Nash, president and co-founder of Prairie Food Co-op. “We’re asking people to invest in this Main Street business.”

In February last year, Prairie Food Co-op signed a 10-year lease on a property under construction with Holladay Properties. The Indiana-based developer is building the planned 10,000-square-foot store and a 115-unit mixed-use luxury apartment complex near Lombard’s Metra station.

Prairie Food Co-op raised more than $ 1 million that spring, and a $ 1.2 million loan is currently signed. But Prairie Food Co-op can be contractually started from its lease if it does not raise as much as $ 4.4 million.

The second round of fundraising for the remaining $ 2.2 million begins later this month. There is also an official launch party from 6:30 to 8:30 pm Friday, Oct. 1 at the Afterthought Brewing Company at 218 E. St. Charles Road and Lombard.

Prairie Food Co-op currently boasts more than 1,500 community owners throughout DuPage County. An owner can buy into the co-op with a minimum of $ 200.

“If each of our owners invested $ 2,000 in this project in our second funding phase, we would achieve that goal,” Nash said. “Of course, we know that not everyone has the opportunity to invest $ 2,000, so we depend on those who have the capacity to invest more.”

Since DuPage County is considered a wealthy community, Nash said the Prairie Food Co-op cannot apply for many grants available for areas considered “low-income” or in “food deserts.” Still, she said they are investigating other sources and working with local village and county leaders.

“The Coop’s mission is to support local farmers and producers who make things organic and sustainable,” Nash said. “Illinois has some of the best farmland in the world, and even less than 5% of the products we buy, grow or manufacture here. So there is a huge opportunity to cultivate that sector and keep more of the money in Illinois and our local economy. “

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