A Word from the Board

A Word from the Board

Member Equity Increase Proposal   

By MJ Conway, Board Chair and Co-op Owner; and Ray Davies, Board Member and Co-op Owner

GreenTree Cooperative Grocery is owned by the people it serves. Like all businesses, food cooperatives require capital in order to start-up or to expand. Co-op Owners are the first stop to make requests and raise critical funds for new projects, although the Co-op also leverages grant opportunities and donations. GreenTree currently has a goal to raise $1,000,000 for its expansion to 410 W Broadway – a site that will be four times larger with five times the retail space! GreenTree has recently completed the second phase of its Capital Campaign and has secured more than $540,000 in investments, grants, and donations. 

The GreenTree Board of Directors sees our Capital Campaign as a great success, and we are excited about the impact that these community investments will have on downtown Mt. Pleasant. 

GreenTree Co-op Market will be a full-service grocery store, open to all shoppers, not only members. Our store will have a look and feel that is similar to Oryana in Traverse City or the Marquette Food Co-op.

We realize that there is still much work to be done. We have launched the third phase of our Capital Campaign with a goal to encourage those who have invested to reinvest in this important project. We will also reach out to other GreenTree Owners, as well as non-Owner community members, and continue to apply for grant opportunities and seek donations. We aim to hit our $1,000,000 goal by summer 2021.     

An important part of being on the Board of Directors is to think about the future of our Co-op. You can’t think clearly about the future without considering the past. GreenTree has been a staple in our community for 50 years! It was made possible because of thousands of Owners who either paid dues and then received a discount on purchases, or who paid equity, with the possibility of receiving dividends and a rebate. 

The last change to our Owner Equity system was in 2009, which established two ways to purchase a share in the Co-op: 

1) $30 annual payment for 7 years, or 

2) One-time payment of $210. 

A share purchase is not a “lifetime membership” and it is subject to an increase in cost. This is an important consideration because Owner Equity is what strengthens a cooperative and makes it a competitive business model. It is critical that we review our needs on a regular basis and determine if it is appropriate to increase our share price. 

The Food Co-op Initiative suggests that we review our share price every 5 years. GreenTree has not changed its share price in more than 10 years, and we are now engaged in a major expansion project! The Board of Directors has proposed increasing the share price to $300. This level of equity is in line with other large and newer co-ops, and it is aligned with our future needs at 410 W. Broadway. 

The Board is interested in your feedback. Please click on this link to fill out a survey and let us know if you support this change to our Owner Equity system. 

Thank you for your input!

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