Medford Market shops for site

It's the second time a food co-op effort has sprouted in Medford

A six-member board is looking for a new location and financial support in a second attempt to open a food cooperative in downtown Medford.

A letter to Medford Market shareholders sent out this week was the first communication since the original board dissolved in November 2007, board President John Statler said.

The co-op has 1,100 subscribing, or member, households. No new-member recruitment is taking place, but Statler expects to start soon.

"We will soon begin an owner recruitment effort and ask people to increase the number of shares they hold," said Statler, who also is a member of the Medford City Council.

He said that request likely would come during a member potluck that may be held in late July or August. During that gathering, board member Louise Dix also will report on a national food co-op meeting she attended in Portland.

The board is looking into possible building leases within a two-mile radius of downtown Medford, Statler said. Financial support for the second-round on the co-op effort will not be secured until a new business plan is finalized and a location is secured.

The co-op board is looking to local bank loans and individuals to put up the money needed to open the market, Statler said.

"It's pretty much the same solutions as before, but relative to the business plan and location," Statler said. "We're particularly looking for local financial support from local banks. There's interest."

The Medford Market board is seeking advice about the best way to renew the community business from Erik Wallbank, former president of the Ashland Food Co-op board.

"We just came to the conclusion that a lot of fundraising has to take place before looking at a location," Wallbank said.

Plans were in place to open the co-op in the former Hubbard's Ace Hardware building at Main Street and Riverside Avenue last year. But that ended when a loan request was sidetracked by changes in lending rules by the National Cooperative Bank. Pleas for individual donors to provide major funding for the start-up were unsuccessful.

For more information about the Medford Market co-op, call Statler at 770-5524 or visit the Market's blog online at www.medfordmarket.org/blog.


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