From September-October 2014

When we talk about building a better world through cooperation, one of the best ways to act on it is to systematize growth so that more people can experience the benefits of a co-op in their community. Developing a strong plan by following a time-tested model is critical to success. That’s why Bill Gessner, who has worked with hundreds of co-ops in various stages of development created a four-stage process for existing co-op expansions. And to meet the needs of the new wave of food co-op development, he also worked collaboratively with others in the sector to create the Four Cornerstones in Three Stages model for startups. The model is based upon the four cornerstones of vision, talent, capital, and systems that are each within three stages of food co-op development: organizing, feasibility and planning, and implementation.

Sheila Conboy, the project manager at the startup food co-op East Aurora Cooperative Market in East Aurora, New York, swears by the 4 in 3. They are poised to open next year, and by following the development model “to the letter” as she said, will also be best prepared for taking on their new role as a community-owned grocery store. The CDS Consulting Co-op is pleased to be a part of that process by creating tools that people can use and offering assistance to make local communities better.

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