Oak Park's Sugar Beet launches capital campaign

Food co-op close to signing lease deal for Madison Street location

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By Timothy Inklebarger

Staff Reporter

Sugar Beet Cooperative is on the verge of signing a 10-year lease at 820 Madison St. and is launching its fundraising campaign this Saturday, March 1 at Unity Temple, 875 Lake St.

Cheryl Munoz, Sugar Beet co-founder, said the member meeting will run 4-5 p.m. She said the group aims to raise approximately $1.6 million and has already secured $200,000 from five members in the last month.

The March Market event also will include previews for the One Earth Film Festival from 3 to 5 p.m., a selection of local vendors for a farmers market, and a seed-starting workshop from 2:30 to 4 p.m. There is a $10 fee for the workshop.

The member meeting will update co-op members about the prospective future site and give details about the build-out of the new location.

Munoz said the group already has roughly 250 members and $60,000 in Community Bank in membership fees.

She said the co-op will follow strong product-sourcing guidelines to ensure that products do not include genetically modified organisms, has reduced packaging, and produce is sustainably grown.

"People want to know that what they're buying parallels with their values," she said.

More information about the event is available at Sugar Beet's website, http://www.sugarbeetcoop.com.

Contact: tim@oakpark.com

Reader Comments

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19th Century Shlub  

Posted: March 3rd, 2014 3:10 PM

@Shar - No, they will however take Beetcoin

Done from Oak Park  

Posted: March 3rd, 2014 1:44 PM

Working mom - memberships are $250 or $50. That's a lot of sugar beets.


Posted: March 3rd, 2014 12:53 PM

Will they take Bitcoin?

Working mom from South Oak Park  

Posted: March 3rd, 2014 10:58 AM

Is this only for people who buy a membership? Can anyone shop there? If you do the math based on the numbers in the article, the membership sounds pricey. Is there a sliding scale? I live in the neighborhood and would like to buy the best produce available but wonder if I could afford a membership.

Amy from Oak Park  

Posted: March 2nd, 2014 11:26 PM

@Brian S: Not only economic benefits, but social and environmental as well. Healthy Foods Healthy Communities: The Social and Economic Impacts of Food Co-ops; https://www.ncga.coop/newsroom/food-co-ops-turn-social-economic-profits


Posted: March 2nd, 2014 12:49 PM

Just to level set. ---- It is unlikely the business will reach enough scale to generate much if any profit. However, the mission is much borader than just financial - expect to break even (or modest profit) but the externatilities are much greater - community food source, positive press, etc.


Posted: March 2nd, 2014 9:57 AM

Generally grocery stores operate with a 1% profit, and the Co-op is entering a very competitive market in Oak Park. Stating that the store is "projected to reach sales of $5 million by year 4" is very hopeful. The Sugar Beet co-op will be competing with Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and the OP Farmer's Market. It will be good if it succeeds, but will the fate be that of the Hyde Park Food Co-op before year 5? And what about parking?

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: March 2nd, 2014 12:28 AM

@ Amy: "for every $1000 dollars a shopper spends at their local food co-op, $1604 in economic activity is generated in their local economy" Please cite your source.

Another S. Oak Parker   

Posted: March 1st, 2014 2:48 PM

Will there be dedicated parking?

South Oak Parker from Oak Park  

Posted: March 1st, 2014 10:16 AM

That corridor of Madison Street is ripe for redevelopment, which is exactly the purpose of TIF funding. TIF funding is really just private borrowing subsidized by a percentage of increased property tax revenues reasonably attributable to the new development. This would be an excellent use of TIF funding.

Cheryl Munoz from Oak Park  

Posted: March 1st, 2014 10:07 AM

The Sugar Beet Co-op will pay taxes just like any other business in Oak Park. Aprrox $42k in property taxes per year plus the sales tax generated by a store projected to reach sales of $5 million by year 4. Food co-ops are not charities, they are economic engines that are managed by local residents! Join us! www.sugarbeetcoop.com

Amy from Oak Park  

Posted: March 1st, 2014 8:31 AM

The economic impact that a co-op grocery store has on its local economy is greater than just the sum of its local spending, because a portion of money spent locally recirculates. For every $1,000 a shopper spends at their local food co-op, $1,604 in economic activity is generated in their local economy?"$239 more than if they had spent that same $1,000 at a conventional grocer.


Posted: March 1st, 2014 6:52 AM

As well intentioned as Sugar Beet may be, does this business generate any revenue for the Village? Several empty properties, several tax exempt Village-owned properties, a non-profit theater asking for TIF dollars, and now a food co-op. What is the future of Madison Street?

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