Special Vote 2018 2018-03-15T10:11:08+00:00

Special Vote 2018

A Historic Moment for Your Cooperative!

West End Expansion Vote

As the collective owners of this cooperative business, we have the responsibility to make decisions that ensure our financial and operational success so that we can better meet the needs of our owners and our community.

We hope you will join us in realizing the importance of growing forward. Check out our latest blog post about the proposed relocation and expansion and please see our special vote member mailing. If you’d like to print and mail in a ballot, download it here.

You are voting on two important issues that will affect the future of your Co-op:

  1. Should GreenStar’s Council be authorized to relocate the Co-op’s West End store and operations to 770 Cascadilla Street and enter into a lease for that site, and shall Council be authorized to sell the cooperative’s operations at 700 & 702 W. Buffalo Street?
  2. Should GreenStar’s bylaws and certificate of incorporation be amended to allow for the purchase of optional member-owner equity investments, “Investment Shares,” for the purpose of raising funds, by its Member-Owners?

The special voting period runs from March 11 – 31. Please vote!

Frequently Asked Questions

Your Co-op would improve drastically! We’d more than double our sales area, have wider aisles, increased product selection, more parking, and more seating in our café!

We love the Co-op too, and growth has become necessary for us to stay competitive and ensure we can be part of the Ithaca community for another 47 years. Each year our expenses rise and our sales must grow so that we can stay in business, continue to support community organizations and local farmers, and offer the excellent wages and benefits to over 200 staff members!

  • The demand for local, organic goods is growing nationally, and although GreenStar is considered a large co-op, with revenue of over $22 million per year, we’re still much smaller than our conventional counterparts. Growth will bring additional revenue, which will allow the Co-op to better serve to our owners and community, and create more opportunities for our staff to grow.
  • As a community-owned co-op, our mission and vision for sustainability is not just a trend, it is woven into the very fabric of our business. The limits of our current infrastructure prevent us from offering truly sustainable retail operations in our community. 
  • Our West End store (which we rent!) has many physical drawbacks, including cramped aisles and an inefficient layout. This places unnecessary limits on our customers’ capacity to ably and comfortably shop here, and significantly limits the products we can sell.
  • We need adequate and safer parking.
  • Consolidating our West End store, warehouse, central kitchen, administrative offices, The Space @ GreenStar, and The Classrooms @ GreenStar under one roof will improve the work environment and make us more efficient.

We’ll grow from 6,500 sq. ft. to 16,500 sq. ft. — the average grocery store is 40,000 sq. ft. We want the Co-op to maintain its small-store feeling, but have room to shop comfortably, particularly for our shoppers with disabilities who currently struggle to navigate the West End stores cramped quarters.

700 W. Buffalo Street houses our administrative offices, warehouse, central kitchen, and The Space and 702 W. Buffalo Street is The Classrooms Building.

Our new building will accommodate all of our West End operations under one roof! The Space, The Classrooms, our Administrative Offices, and our Central Kitchen will all be part of our new store. Selling the properties we will no longer need will help to finance our expansion project.

Not at thing! Our DeWitt and Collegetown stores will remain open in their current locations.

As a community-owned, cooperative business, GreenStar doesn’t have a corporate parent, or distant stockholders to raise capital from. Instead, we rely on the investment of our member-owners, through their equity payments (membership renewals) to provide GreenStar with capital. While the capital raised through member payments is sufficient to meet the Co-op’s needs in normal operating years, it is not enough to meet the needs of major expansion or relocation projects.

Across the country, our sister co-ops have successfully raised significant funds from their owners as a part of their project capitalization, and GreenStar hopes to do the same. But first, we need to amend our bylaws to allow us to do so.

Investment Shares

  • Work harder for the co-op than loans – they are EQUITY not debt (Loans are DEBT)
  • Offer responsible, local investment option at competitive rates
  • Reduce the need for outside financing, but place the co-op in more favorable light should we need it
  • Are offered ONLY to NYS residents who are current co-op owners
  • We cannot make public appeals (NO NPR-style general asks are legally allowed)
  • Keep more money local, out of big banks
  • Provide a values based investment option: supports local community/economy, rather than lining the pockets of an outside corporation

For additional information:

  • Attend the Special Member Meeting on Friday, March 16 at 5:30 pm at The Space.
  • Attend the Member Feedback Session Wednesday, March 21 from 7 – 8:30 pm at The Space.
  • Want to save paper and vote online for future Co-op votes? Sign up here.

If you’re an owner, you can vote “YES!” on ballot questions 1 and 2 in the special vote. GreenStar’s owners must approve any long-term leases for the Co-op, and the project will be presented for an owner vote from March 11 – 31. 

Contact expansion@greenstar.coop for more information.

With your help, GreenStar will keep achieving its goals for a stronger local economy, more local food, and honoring the diversity of our community!

Special Meeting
Meeting Agenda
Member Feedback Session
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