Many feel that the promise and purpose of Riverbend is not to be forgotten. We can still accomplish our original vision, mission, and goals.
The membership now is nearly 500 family members. Many
feel that we do not want to walk away from members, lenders, suppliers, service providers and others who invested substantial capital and time in our cooperative.
We can learn from our experiences and move forward to honor our commitments. After the doors closed, the remaining Board members asked Clarence Bischoff to assist with the restart of the cooperative. He agreed to do so with the help of a non-profit he organized about a year ago, the MN Sustainable Developments Group, chaired by Debbie Goettel. (Debbie is Mayor of Richfield and has years of business and administrative experience. She is a strong advocate for sustainability goals in general and has a special interest in local-sustainable food systems.)
A priority task is reconstituting the Board of Directors. The task is challenging so we will be seeking members who are ready for this type of commitment. The future possibilities are exciting if the membership commitment is there.
The cooperative is owned by the members and the cooperative will exist to serve the needs of the members.
A Members Meeting was held on June 26, at 6:00 pm, at Riverbend Market Cooperative (417 Main Street) to update members on the progress we have made and the plans for the future. We will be updating members via email and posting information as appropriate here on the website from the meeting.
If one would need to put the major things we have learned into one word it would be: Governance. We were too informal with this and it led to a series of mistakes. At the same time a lot of things went well. At the time of Grand Opening in April of 2012, the store looked good and our sales were close to the break-even point.
In a situation as we have, we want to learn from our mistakes but then move on to achieve new goals. Let us take it as a given that all previous Board members and staff were good people who did their best. The same is true for all members, vendors, suppliers, and investors. With a current membership of nearly 500 family members, we can again reach our break-even point and have the Cash Flow to meet all of our obligations.
We need to do as implied in our vision statement: “…buy organically and locally grown, healthful, fresh food at affordable prices” at our cooperative where we are owner-members. If each member commits to buying 25 to 50% of our grocery needs at our cooperative we will be sustainable. We must see to it as member-owners that the store is stocked and operated in a way that meets our needs.
Please contact us any time with questions or suggestions.
Clarence Bischoff, Project Manager
Todd Prink, President
Riverbend Market Cooperative
417 Main St. Red Wing, MN 55066