As this crazy year of 2020 comes to an end, Whitewater Grocery Co. wants to share some joy and update Whitewater on this year’s activities. The GroCo volunteers have been busy!
First, this year saw a change in leadership when Lacey Reichwald, our founding president stepped down from her role. Katy Wimer was voted in by unanimous consent by the Board to replace her in October. Like Lacey, Katy is an entrepreneur, experienced in marketing and social media and has devoted many years of dedicated volunteerism to the GroCo’s Ownership & Outreach Committee. Lacey remains on the board until the end of her term.
Second, the GroCo moved its office to the UWW Community Engagement Center (CEC) in the old Sentry building. We can’t wait until we can fully utilize this amazing space and see our owners.
Third, during the pandemic, the GroCo Ownership Committee ran a successful food drive during the 4th of July, and is currently wrapping up another initiative called 31 Days of Sharing with the UWW Warhawk Pantry, Whitewater Community Food Pantry, and The Community Space. The GroCo is asking all those who are able to put together a box of 31 thoughtful items to help our struggling families. There are a few days left to put together your box of goodies. The list of recommended supplies can also be found on Facebook or on Instagram. If you’re strapped for time, the GroCo will also take monetary donations that can be split among the pantries. Checks can be made payable to Whitewater Grocery Co. and mailed to: CEC – Whitewater Grocery Co., 1260 W. Main St., Whitewater, WI 53190.
Fourth, the pandemic has demonstrated the fine line that a lot of our families navigate to be able to pay their bills and find affordable food, and the GroCo has redoubled its efforts to make grocery shopping accessible for all. The GroCo is offering scholarships (paid for with donations from current owners and from the UWW student government) for members of the community who want to help build a grocery store but would consider it a financial hardship to buy a full-priced ownership. A community-owned grocery store must be accessible for everyone in the community and be culturally sensitive to the needs of our neighbors. Essentially, the $150 ownership is a crowdfunding tool to convince banks and investors that there is enough community interest, but co-ops across the country have found the need to reach deeper into the community in order to get the necessary feedback about offering SNAP benefits and bulk deals that make it possible for everyone to afford to eat healthy.
Fifth, the Whitewater Grocery Co. has narrowed down possible sites that follow market study recommendations and is conducting due diligence in order to build. We cannot progress to the next stage of development until a few more owners sign on to this community project. In order to generate excitement, owners have thrown money into a pot to make things more exciting. In the Ownerpalooza, each owner can recommend a friend to become an owner. If that friend becomes an owner during December, the recommending owner and the new owner are eligible to win the $700. Anyone who becomes an owner in December will be eligible to win. A number of payment plans are available for ownership.
When you become an Owner of Whitewater Grocery Co. (GroCo), you become a part of something bigger: a community of people taking matters into their own hands to nourish our community. Your GroCo ownership lasts a lifetime and ensures you have a voice in our local food system. More information can be found on our website https://www.whitewatergrocery.co/.