Updated July 2021
APPLE STREET MARKET
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the status of the Apple Street Market cooperative?
During the July 2021 Board meeting, the Apple Street Board members unanimously voted to begin the legal dissolution process for the Apple Street cooperative in Northside. Despite the countless hours of work from the community to find a new location for the project, the Board agreed with heavy hearts that there is not a path forward for the cooperative at this time.
2. Why did the Board vote to end Apple Street?
Although we have been operating with minimal spending, Apple Street Market does have ongoing expenses (e.g. accounting, website, Mailchimp). With no path towards acquiring property for the store, we believe we should save these resources.
Apple Street Market also has debts and liabilities that must be addressed. If we dissolve now, we can return loans that have been waiting in escrow for the project to start, and with the generous help of Co-op Cincy, can pay back 10/20% of loans that have been disbursed and used, at least partially, for expenses in opening the store. (See #5 below for a description of how funds were used during the project).
3. What was the process for searching and vetting locations, and why was it concluded?
When the Save-a-Lot closed in Northside, hundreds of community members worked to develop a locally-owned grocery at that site. As we worked to acquire the site, supporters fundraised, developed business plans, conducted environmental and engineering assessments, developed construction plans, and more. In addition, we worked with NEST to attain funding from the city of Cincinnati to acquire 4145 Apple Street, which was given to NEST. Unfortunately, the rest of our financing through the New Market Tax Credit fell through at the beginning of 2019 due to changes in tax law, and NEST chose to develop 4145 Apple Street Property as a single-use project for housing.
In 2020 the Apple Street Location Committee did a robust search for a viable location in Northside. Members looked in detail at 8 potential additional properties. All the sites were occupied. We even looked at 2 in College Hill at the request of their local community development corporation. Of all the potential sites we investigated, only two were found to be viable for a grocery store: the Triangle at the corner of Blue Rock and Hamilton (optimal site) and the building behind Hoffner park on Blue Rock owned by Gaslight Properties. Gaslight Properties does not currently have a timeline for developing the property and has no interest in a grocery store. Remarkably, the Triangle Property went into receivership along with 2 other parcels in Northside and PLK Communities won the bid.
Our location committee and scores of supporters encouraged PLK Communities to work with Apple Street Market to include a grocery store in their plans for market-rate housing. PLK offered the Cherry and Cooper site, however, our highly reliable market studies demonstrated that that site can’t be financially viable for a grocery store. According to grocery experts, Associated Wholesale Grocers (AWG) and Dakota Worldwide, the best spot in the neighborhood is the Triangle site at the corner of Hamilton and Blue Rock as long as there are 10,000 square feet, 30 parking spaces, and a loading dock.
Unfortunately, PLK has determined that they cannot make their housing project financially viable and are not currently moving forward with any construction. This sad development leaves Apple Street Market with no current options for a location in our area that can support a successful grocery. (Success criteria include public visibility, parking and accessibility, minimum of 3000 square feet, and space for a loading dock and delivery truck).
4. What comes next for Apple Street?
There are a series of steps that must be completed in order to complete the dissolution of Apple Street:
Approval of Dissolution by Apple Street Board (Completed on July 1, 2021)
a. The Board has appointed Kristen Barker as the officer to manage the liquidation of assets.
Approval by Apple Street Community Owners
b. A majority of owners who vote must agree to dissolve the project. We are therefore planning to hold an owner meeting on September 18th or 25th, 2021 to discuss the project, what went wrong, what positives resulted (e.g. LGBTQI senior housing, Gem City Market), answer questions, and hold the owner vote.
Notification of Apple Street Community Owners Unable to Attend September 2021 Meeting
Notification to Government Agencies, Bank
a.Ohio Department of Taxation
b.Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation
c.Ohio Department of Job and Family Services
d.Hamilton County Treasurer
e.Ohio Secretary of State
f.Internal Revenue Service
Publication of Notice of Dissolution in Local Newspaper
5. Where has money already raised since 2014 gone?
At the December 2020 Community Owner meeting we presented the most recent listing of expenses for the past 7 years, shown below:
6. How much did Apple Street pay professionals for designs for the Save-a-Lot site?
The design, engineering, and environmental abatement fees totaled $129,460.86. These fees paid for complete, detailed building renovation plans for 4145 Apple Street which were used to apply for and receive a building permit, in anticipation of proceeding with the project. Environmental abatement included investigating the building for hazardous materials and then removing asbestos. This environmental abatement was required for the building renovation project and is also necessary prior to the demolition of the building to make way for the Apple Street Senior apartment building.
7. What kinds of vetting of the business plan occurred?
Apple Street Market’s business plan for 4145 Apple Street was reviewed by numerous grocery experts who have found it to be realistic and compelling. In addition to the Market’s distributor Associated Wholesale Grocery (AWG), the ICA Group, Columinate (previous CDS consulting, a very reputable grocery consultant), and various CDFI’s including Self-help Credit Union reviewed it. In fact, ASM’s business plan served as the basis of the business plan for Apple Street Market’s sister store Gem City Market, which recently opened in Dayton, Ohio. Food Cooperative Initiative identified that business plan as the best business plan for a grocery co-op start-up it had seen.
8. What kind of analysis of the proposed sites occurred? Who other than AWG provided vetting and analysis?
Apple Street Market brought in Associated Wholesale Grocers (AWG) as well as Dakota Worldwide to evaluate sites in the neighborhood. Both identified the Triangle site at the corner of Blue Rock and Hamilton as the best site for a long-term viable grocery store.
The second best site is the rectangular former Ace Doran site on Blue Rock directly behind Hoffner. This property is currently owned by Gaslight Properties. Apple Street Market approached Gaslight to explore the possibilities of this site. Gaslight said they do not currently have a timeline for developing the property and that they are not interested in a grocery store.
Location is critical in creating a successful grocery store. People will not often go down side streets and out of their way for their groceries, especially if the grocery store size renders it incapable of holding anywhere near the varieties of products found at stores such as Kroger. Apple Street spent 2020 looking for potential viable sites and conducted market studies in both Northside and College Hill which eliminated several candidates. These include:
- Building Value or area by Rock Island Realty – Grocery stores want cross streets rather than the middle of a block. Corner spaces are ideal for a grocery. The further in the middle of the block, especially when there is insufficient density and off the main road, the less chance for it to work.
- StageCraft- This site presents challenges with respect to accessibility, parking, floor area, loading dock, and residential density.
- Large Cooper Lot at Cooper & Cherry -not visible, out of the way, not enough density.
- Site of the proposed SkatePark when getting off I-74 – There is a deep neighborhood desire for it to be a skatepark, and there may be serious traffic and safety challenges with getting into the site.
- Capozollo Printers – The site has no parking except for paid Northside Business Association parking. It also has no entry from Hamilton Ave because the alley has insufficient space for entry. People could only access from Spring Grove. The building would need to likely be demolished and rebuilt to accommodate features such as a loading dock, which could be cost-prohibitive.
- Spring Grove Truck Lot – Located on the fringe of the trade area, without many houses around it, it may be too close to Kroger.
- Bud Herbert’s – Of all the options, this is the closest to a possibility, but the market study sales number and proforma demonstrate that this would be difficult to pull off. There is the added challenge that a profitable business is happily operating there.
9. I was a community owner. Will I be refunded?
Apple Street Market will be able to pay back between 10-20% of loans that have been disbursed and used. As the dissolution process continues, we will determine what level of investment can be returned to the community owners.
As we announced in the Winter of 2019 when NEST dropped ASM as a partner at the Save-a-Lot site, the project cannot pay back membership shares purchased because those funds were used to develop the construction plans and other project expenses. See https://www.applestreetmarket.coop/2019/.
We ask all community owners to attend the community owner meeting in September to answer any questions you may have.
10. I want to continue the fight for food access in Northside. What can I do?
Apple Street supporters and community owners are teaming up with groups in Walnut Hills (Queen Mothers Market), Evanston (Hopes Fulfilled), and Price Hill (Meisers Fresh Grocery and Deli) to launch a buyer’s club to help support food access in these neighborhoods.
A buying club is a group of neighbors that have come together to buy food in bulk at wholesale prices. Members organize to place bulk orders with wholesale distributors to avoid the extra cost grocery stores charge to make a profit, then help divide and distribute the orders to participating individuals and families. A buying club can provide neighbors access to goods not available in their community at a low price. Buying clubs help increase food accessibility, particularly in neighborhoods without grocery stores or other reliable access to fresh produce, while also building and strengthening community relationships.
Northside and South Cumminsville residents interested in learning more and participating, please join us at Kristen Barker’s house, 4122 Langland St (in the backyard) on Saturday, August 7 at 11 am. We hope to begin making wholesale orders for distribution in August if possible.
11. What has come out of this process?
Apple Street Market’s efforts to help secure the former Save-A-Lot site for the neighborhood of Northside has helped make it possible for NEST to develop an exciting LGTBQ Senior affordable housing project – The John Arthur Flats which will provide 57 units of housing. Happily, the Ground Breaking has just occurred!
Apple Street’s organizing inspired Gem City Market in Dayton to come to life. Over the years, Apple Street has shared our business plan, technical support from our General Manager, equipment plans, and more with Gem City. Excitingly, they just opened in May!! See the following media stories for more information:
- From WVXU: Dayton’s Coming Co-op Market Builds On A Playbook Developed In Cincinnati
- From Nonprofit Quarterly: In West Dayton, Ohio, a Food Co-op Heralds a “Black Renaissance”
FAQ January 2021
Click here to get the answers to:
- Where has money already raised since 2014 gone?
- How much did Apple Street pay professionals for designs for the
- How is the fundraising going?
- What kinds of vetting of the business plan has occurred?
- What kind of analysis of the proposed sites has occurred? Who other than
AWG has provided vetting and analysis?
- Does PLK have to build a grocery store?
- What is Apple Street asking PLK?
- What would this mean for PLK?
- Does the community have power?
- What does Apple Street need to be viable on the Triangle site?
- What are the challenges to be dealt with on the Triangle site?
General Frequently Asked Questions:
- Is there a website for the market?
- What are the benefits of being an owner?
You get the personal satisfaction of knowing you helped open an asset to the community, owner sales, patronage dividends (when the store is profitable), and a vote for 3 seats on the board.
- How much is a Community Owner’s share in Apple Street Market Coop?
You can purchase a share for $100. You can also invest additional equity in the cooperative by purchasing your share for more than $100.
- What if I can’t afford $100 but want to buy an ownership share?
If you qualify for Federal assistance programs (SNAP, free or reduced lunches at public schools, etc.) you can buy a share for a reduced rate of $10.00. You can download the application online and return it to us anywhere paper applications are accepted.
- Do I have to live in Cincinnati to become a community owner?
No, “Community” refers to anyone supporting Apple Street Market.
- Can non-owners shop in the store?
Yes, anyone can shop at Apple Street. However, only owners will reap the benefits listed above.
- When will the store open?
will know more after discussions with PLK/Northside community
- Where will the market be located?
possibly triangle site at the corner of Hamilton Ave. & Blue Rock
- Will the store be located on a bus line?
Yes, Apple Street is within 3 blocks of the Northside bus hub serving routes 15x, 16, 17, 19, 20, 23x, 27, and 51.
- Can I help someone that can’t afford the $100 ownership-share cost?
Yes. donations can be made anywhere paper Community Owner applications are accepted or mailed to Apple Street Market C/O Cincinnati Union Cooperative Initiative, 215 E 14th Street, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202.
- Can I pay for my Community Owner share in installments?
Yes, you can pay in four installments of $25.00 due every three months.
- What will be the store hours?
To start, Apple Street will be open 7 days a week, 9 am-8:30 pm.
- What will the market sell?
Apple Street will be a full-service grocery, selling price-competitive and local food: fresh produce, dairy, deli meats and cheeses, fresh meat and seafood, frozen food, household paper and cleaning products, baby care items, and beer and wine.
- Will Apple Street have a butcher and deli?
Yes and yes, right next to one another at the back of the store. We will also have a kitchen classroom.
- Will Apple Street accept SNAP and Produce Perks?
Yes and yes.
- Will Apple Street accept WIC?
- Will the store accept manufacturer’s coupons?
- Are there volunteer requirements?
- …but can I work in the store if I am a Community Owner and I want to?
Yes, Community Owners can work in the store as Hands-On Owners (HOO’s). HOO’s help Worker-Owners with day-to-day tasks. HOO’s become better acquainted with what it takes to run the store they own; they also receive a discount in appreciation of their time. Due to the limited number of tasks, not everyone who wants to be a HOO will always be able to participate.
- Can I pay online?
Yes, go to applestreetmarket.coop and click “Get Involved” or “Become an owner today.”
- What stake does Cincinnati Union Cooperative Initiative (CUCI) have in Apple Street Market?
CUCI is the nonprofit organization that’s getting Apple Street up and running. CUCI will hold one seat on the Apple Street Market Cooperative Board of Directors.
- Who else is on the board?
Worker-owners hold 7 seats and community owners hold 3 seats. The workers elect the worker seats and the community elects the community seats.
- What is a co-op?
A cooperative is a business whose purpose is to provide a service instead of profit to its owners.
- Where did the governance and principles originate?
Mondragon, the world’s largest worker-owned cooperative network, including a successful supermarket chain.
- Are donations to Apple Street Market tax-deductible?
No, but Apple Street Market is currently looking for a Non-Profit that can accept tax-deductible donations to partner with us.
- How many shares can I purchase?
Only one share for you, but you can buy someone else a share as a gift or invest additional equity in the cooperative by purchasing your share for more than $100.
- How often do I purchase an ownership share?
One time only!
- Will there be other locations?
Northside will be the first location to open, but we hope to be a series of neighborhood groceries that open in areas that traditional corporate chains have abandoned.
- What does it mean for Apple Street to be a union co-op?
We believe today’s challenges offer a historic moment and opportunity to bring the co-operative and labor movements together. As a union co-op, Apple Street is organized to ensure workers have a strong voice in the governance, wages, and working conditions of their store.
In case you’re curious about the laws that govern the market, download the link below!