Icebreaker Activity

Current Board Introduction


Project Update from Kristen Barker


  • Board members and supporters have met with NEST and the site co-developer about the possibility of a mixed-use building with Apple Street Market on the ground floor as a tenant and housing above.
  • According to our wholesale supplier, mixed-use developments are currently a very popular way for cooperative groceries to develop. The project would be of great interest as a model for projects around the country.
  • However, there are significant challenges.
    • We have already paid for design work for the store. Now the project entails demolishing the existing site. This leads to higher costs. The current estimate a higher cost of about $1.1 million (not including $150K in new design costs). There is a construction “podium” that needs to be added to support mixed use, and that alone costs $500K.
    • Previously, our estimated costs were approximately $700K in operations and $3 million in store/construction costs. Design was complete and paid.
      • As of Sep 28th, the working project estimate was $4.1 million, plus $150 more for new design costs. Included in the new total is demolishing the existing building and a $500k “podium” needed to support mixed use.
    • We have experienced good success during our fundraising campaign despite the uncertainty around the project. We had a goal to raise $1 million over the summer and we’ve raised $720K in owner funds. With owner fund + grants we are at 800K with a grant pledge that brings us to a total just over $900K. We believe that if we sign an agreement and construction starts, we can do even more with fundraising.
      • However, we cannot cover an additional $1 million in funding.
  • We need NEST, ASM, and the co-developer to work together to find ways to fill the funding gap without transferring those costs solely to ASM through construction costs or higher rent.
    • For example, one source of potential funding that we could bring would be New Market Tax Credits.


  • What is the NEST-Co-developer relationship?
    • A: We still need to investigate how ownership will be addressed with NEST and the co-developer.
  • What is the time frame for ASM to become a part of the property?
    • A: Very fast. The co-developer needs to submit a request for funds to support low income housing by February, so they need to begin plans for the site very quickly. (Note if they do not receive those funds, they might wait for one year and apply again, or apply for smaller funds in a shorter time frame.)
  • What size is the space planned for now?
    • A: 10-11,000 square feet, with 8000 sq. feet of retail space.
  • Why not look for another location?
    • A: We have investigated other sites. Right now, there is not a location available in Northside that accommodates AWG Minimums.
      • What is an AWG minimum?
        • A: Our wholesaler is a major part of having affordable prices for high quality food. That wholesaler requires a certain square footage, sales figures, and radius for a truck to deliver goods.
      • Why not look outside Northside?
        • A: Our owners have told us that they have supported the project in order to have food access in Northside.
  • Will ASM still have worker ownership? Will we still work with Our Harvest?
    • A: We will still be entirely responsible for how the store is run so yes to all of the above.
  • Who will be on the board when it makes a decision about whether or not to sign a development agreement?
    • A: We currently have three open seats for owner members. We will have an election that we hope will add new elected members. We expect the 7 members currently on the board to remain.
  • Why not table the vote given the uncertainty?
    • A: The board gave our word in February that we would hold a vote on the escrow funds in September. And, we need Owners to approve Option 2 if we are to have any chance of moving forward with the project. Once an agreement would be signed, we would need to move quickly, requiring access to funds. We also need to know if the owners were to vote no.
  • How many housing units are planned?
    • A: Our understanding is 45-55 units.
  • How much chance do we have? Does the co-developer want us?
    • A: Right now, they are concerned that ASM might close and leave them with significant expenses. And, putting a grocery in the location is not currently helping them to qualify for funding for low income housing.
  • Will there be enough parking?
    • A: That is something we will have to investigate, but the developer believes that parking will not be a problem. The store will need a minimum of 33 spaces.
  • What influence do we have right now over the negotiation?
    • A: Northsiders and people from other local communities have put so much time and many resources into developing food access and a high quality grocery store.  NEST depends on community support. And the developer is also sensitive to neighborhood support.
  • What control will we have around ability to stay in the same location after store would open?
    • A: We are not sure about final ownership. We will find out more as we work towards an agreement. Because ownership could be outside the hands of the community, we could lose an important goal of the project, which is to guarantee that the store won’t move without a vote. However, the developer would be motivated to promote the market’s success because of the expense in developing another use for our site.




Option 1 (red card) Return escrow funds to fund originators. By voting for this option, you are stating you have lost confidence in the Apple Street Market project, that you do not believe this project could be viable, that all funds in the Community-Owner Loan escrow account should be returned to the loan originators, and the project should end. *Since options 2 & 3 are both variations of moving forward with the project, option 1 will require a 51% majority vote to override the combined votes of options 2 & 3.0 for stop

  • 0 Votes

Option 2 (yellow card) Permit release of escrow funds if 3/4 of the Board vote to sign a development agreement with both co-developers. By voting for this option you have confidence that Apple Street Market is continuing to progress toward its goal of opening a neighborhood sized worker- and community-owned full-service grocery store. You vote to permit the Board to release the funds on two conditions: 1) There is a signed development agreement with both project co-developers, and 2) it’s approved by 3/4 Board majority. The Board recommends Option 2.37 for Option 2

  • 38 Votes

Option 3 (green card) Release funds now. By voting for this option you believe that Apple Street Market has reached a point where funds are needed to start development, and all the funds in the escrow should be released to start development.

  • 0 Votes

Other Discussion on the Vote

  • Request from the floor: If signing occurs, hold at a large public meeting with enough space for members to attend. Board strongly agreed.

Owner Brainstorming – How to Move the Project Forward:


  • Encourage NEST to announce the co-developer
  • Owners can order food from Our Harvest
  • Get AWG to help us
  • Get a third party to create an economic model of the store’s likely contribution
  • Repair NEST/ASM relationships
  • Public campaign: get individuals and organizations to create videos that explain “this is why grocery access is important to me.”
  • Owners signed our poster, which encourages NEST and the co-developer to work with us in a united way to address the gap funding.

Announcement About Food Forest:


  • Food Forest is an interim pilot project designed to get food into the neighborhood.
  • Online ordering with delivery to a central location in each of the two pilot communities.
  • Allows SNAP use.
  • Need dedicated volunteer to help with pick up and distribution.
  • Each site needs 75 people to sign up in order for the pilot project to start in each neighborhood.

Board Member Nominations


  • ASM needs nominees for Owner Board members. Nominations will be taken until October 28
  • On changed to October 17th at 6:30pm – 8pm – there will be a program designed to help people learn more about being on the board. DETAILS will be posted to social media.
  • Board service involves a 2-year term, a minimum of ~2-3 hours a week (NOT what was said in the video).
  • If you’re interested in running, please send your name, a brief bio and a statement about why you’re interested in joining the board to by October 28, 2019. After that, the membership will have roughly a month to elect three new representatives to the board (more details on that soon).