News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

September 18, 2009

Terre Foods Cooperative Market targets spring 2010 for downtown opening

TERRE HAUTE — Terre Foods Cooperative Market seeks to open its downtown Terre Haute store in the spring of 2010, unveiling plans Friday that include construction of an addition to a building at the corner of Seventh and Poplar streets.

However, to make the market bloom, the cooperative is seeking to get 300 members by the end of this month and more than 500 members at opening.

The cooperative now has 167 members, each paying a one-time, $200 member-owner fee.

“The biggest challenge we face right now is essentially mobilizing capital. Equity capital as well as debt capital from our own membership,” said cooperative member Don Richards, an economics professor at Indiana State University.

“I would like to see $150K [$150,000] before we begin negotiations with lenders, so that we will be taken seriously when we sit down with lenders. We would like substantially more than that. Our total cost is in excess of $1 million,” Richards said.

“We regard this as a good investment. If someone has a few thousand dollars in a savings account or money market account, we present, I think, a good financial alternative to that,” he said. “We are a member-loan program, which pays 3 percent on loan funds, whereas comparably liquid opportunities in banks are not even competitive with that currently. So it is not a bad financial investment and is a wonderful community development gesture.”

Terre Foods Cooperative Market has a purchase agreement on a building at the corner of Poplar and Seventh streets. That building has had several former uses, including a McDonald’s and a state license branch.

The purchase agreement expires in October, but Robyn Morton, president of Terre Foods, said she is confident the cooperative can close on the property within two months.

The plan is to expand that building, adding 2,224 additional square feet, bringing the total to 5,320 square feet. Of that, 3,096 square feet would be retail space. The cooperative is working with MMS-A/E, a Terre Haute architectural firm, on a market design and CDI Construction for the build out of the market and addition.

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    March 12, 2010