It’s official, we have a location! Nourish Community Market will be opening at The Heights at Westerly Creek Village in Aurora, directly across the street from the Stanley Marketplace (at 2352 Dallas St.). The Heights will be a brand new mixed-use development with the co-op, other retail and restaurants on the ground floors and for-sale condos on the stories above.
We made our announcement at the 2016 Annual Meeting and our member-owners in attendance were thrilled with the result. We hope you are too! There were lots of questions and we want to answer as many as we can, so without further ado, let’s get onto it…!
About the neighborhood
Westerly Creek Village is one of the City of Aurora’s strategic urban renewal areas. The current plans are to turn this area, which currently consists of mostly commercial and industrial spaces, into a vibrant, walkable, urban community similar to Stapleton and Lowry in Denver and Fitzsimmons in Aurora. The Stanley Marketplace is the first major redevelopment site in the area and The Heights at Westerly Creek Village will be just across the street on Dallas St. The other yellow shaded areas on the map to the right are the other sites that are being targeted for major redevelopment.
This area is bordered by Stapleton to the west and north, residential original Aurora to the east and Montview Blvd to the South. Dayton Street is currently under construction while they connect it directly to Stapleton between 25th and 26th Avenues. This will dramatically increase the traffic through the area which will help improve the foot traffic at our store and make it much more convenient to our member-owners living in Stapleton.
About the store
The store will be a 10,000 sqft one-stop-shop natural grocery store. Although we want to focus on providing our customers with food sourced locally, we do also plan on stocking all your favorite brands which means we will be working with more traditional food distributors as well. You can read more by checking out our store page on our website.
We are currently working with CDS Consultant, Nicole Klimek, who will help with our store planning and design. She is widely known as the queen of co-op store design and will be invaluable as we create a space that serves the needs of the community.
About the timeline
We want nothing more than for this store to open as quickly as possible… but we still have a few challenges ahead. Mainly, we need more member-owners! We have signed a lease with contingencies on our location, but in order for those contingencies to be removed we need to secure all of our financing. And in order for us to secure our financing we need to first raise $1.2m+ from our member-owners. And in order for us to raise that kind of money… we need more member-owners!
As soon as we have 1,500 member-owners we can launch our capital campaign, which we hope to do by Spring 2017 in order to stay on our timeline. If we can do that, then the majority of the remaining hurdles will be out of our control… construction delays, development permits, city infrastructure projects, and on and on. If all goes as planned, including acknowledging the inevitable delays, we hope to open by the end of 2018.
About the financing
The co-op will be leasing our space at The Heights. We still need a few million dollars to help with retrofitting the space, purchasing inventory, having enough cash flow for operating and paying for all the consultants, lawyers and professional staff needed to open a 10,000 sqft grocery store.
We have always planned on leveraging debt from a few low-interest lenders who specialize in financing food co-ops. But in order to secure that debt, we need at least 30-50% of the funding in the form of equity from our member-owners. Assuming we have 2,000 member-owners by the time we open our doors, that would only be (2,000 * $200 =) $400,000. Thus, we need to raise an additional $1.2m+ from our capital campaign. You can read all about that process on our invest with us page.
I’ll say it one more time… we need more member-owners! The #1 reason we’ve heard in the past for why people didn’t want to join was because they didn’t know where the store was going to be… well now you do! Now is the best time to join because if we don’t get the member-owners we need, we won’t be able to open our doors. Most of our member-owners come to us by referral of existing member-owners so get out there and tell your friends, neighbors, colleagues, strangers… everyone… to join the co-op!