Why is the Co-op moving?

The Plainfield Co-op board and membership have been working for years to address the challenges of store size, lack of parking, and accessibility at the current location. When the Plainfield Hardware store came on the market, the board proposed purchasing the store and moving the Co-op to the Route 2 location. After detailed analysis and several public information sessions, a vote was put to the membership at the annual meeting on August 27, 2023.  At the meeting, and via paper ballots available at the store, 82% of Co-op members who voted supported the move.

Where is the Co-op moving to?

We will be purchasing the Plainfield Hardware store on Route 2, just 1.7 miles west of our current location.

What will happen to our current location?

We anticipate a two-year process to determine the best use and future owner of our current store location. Plainfield, like many towns in Vermont, has a village community trust that can invest in the community. We hope to work with this group, or others that may emerge, to answer this question for the community. No real estate transaction can happen without a vote of the Co-op membership.

What will happen to the staff at both stores?

We are working with a management consultant as well as financial advisors to look at current staffing at both locations, future staffing needs, and the normal rate of staff turnover (how long people stay in a job). We hope every member of the current Plainfield Hardware and Co-op staff will want to continue working for the Co-op at the new location. 

When are you moving?

Our goal is to purchase the property on July 17, 2024. For a short time we will officially be in business at both locations. As the transition occurs and operations move to Route 2, we will try to ensure that the Plainfield community has continual access to the fresh foods and grocery items you depend on. 

Why do you need to raise so much money?

Our goal is to raise $2.22 million. We have already raised 70% of the needed funds! In addition to purchasing the building, land, and inventory at Plainfield Hardware, we are also planning for the cost of the move and professional support for the transition.

Budget Item Amount
Land    $250,000 
Building $850,000 
Equipment $100,000 
Inventory  $250,000 
Business structure & systems $300,000 
Total Purchase Price $ 1,750,000 

In addition, to ensure we are up and running successfully at the new location, we are planning for the following expenses:
New Equipment $50,000 
Fees & Permits $20,000 
Additional Marketing $5,000 
Additional Personnel $25,000 
Closure of Current Store $10,000 
Pay Down Accounts Payable $75,000 
Pay Off Existing Co-op Fund of Northeast Loan $42,292 
Loan Fees $14,000 
Year 1 Professional Support $85,000 
Additional Working Capital $126,708 
Overrun Allowance $17,000 
Total Other Expenses $470,000

Total Purchase Price $1,750,000 
Total Other Expenses $470,000
TOTAL BUDGET $2,220,000

Isn’t it risky to borrow money when the Co-op has been struggling?

Our financial advisors looked at the current sales of the two locations and made conservative projections for our revenue. These projections have been reviewed by state financial regulators and our commercial lender, the Cooperative Fund of the Northeast. We have a high degree of confidence in our future financial performance. 

The declining revenues at the current location are one reason why this move is essential. As customers, we expect much greater choice in the grocery store. We expect local products and fresh foods as well as food to go. The Plainfield Hardware store has enough floor space to provide much greater choice. With higher volumes, we anticipate that, over time, we can lower prices in some food categories and make it financially feasible for more people in our community to shop here. 

How much have you raised so far? How much do you need to raise?

Our goal is to raise $2.22 million, and the good news is we are 70% of the way there! 


    • We have secured a $1.4 million loan from the Cooperative Fund of the Northeast.

    • We have secured $150,000 in owner financing.

    • We are actively applying for grants and conservatively estimate raising $100,000.

That leaves you! Our goal is to secure $500,000 in member loans and $70,000 in donations to launch us into our next 50 years. Will you join us? 

Why are you looking to members for loans and donations?

Co-op members are co-owners. Think of yourself as owning a share of a small business. Co-ops nationwide, especially those who have been in business for a long time, use member loans to renovate and expand, typically paying back all loans on time. Your loan or donation to the Co-op is an investment in your community, supports local jobs, and ensures we continue to have access to grocery items and fresh food. Note: you don’t have to be a member to lend or give to the Co-op!

What will happen to the hardware store?

We will continue to operate the hardware store, deli and garden shop. We will continue to be a Co-op grocery – with a new location – and will also expand the cooperative model and ownership to hardware, farm and garden supplies, and seasonal greenhouse products. 

What happens if we can’t raise the money?

Throughout this process we have been working with financial advisors. The Cooperative Fund of the Northeast, our commercial lender, and our fundraising consultants have reviewed our plans very closely. Our biggest question is not IF we can raise the funds, but if we can raise what we need to close the sale in mid-July.

All funds received through loans will be held in an escrow account until the sale is final. If for any reason the sale does not go through, all loan funds will be returned. 

How do individual loans work?

Just like a loan from a bank, you will choose how much you want to loan and for how long you want to loan the money. The minimum loan amount is $2,500, with interest payments made annually. The options are shown in the tables below. 

Amount of Loan Interest Rate
$2,500 to $9,999 2%
$10,000 to $49,999 2.5 %
$50,000 and over 3%

Only Vermont residents are eligible to make a loan, and for loans above $10,000 there is a financial disclosure requirement. 

Depending on how much you loan and how many years you loan the money for, the interest rate you will be paid is included in the table.

You can look at additional financial documents, sales projections and other analysis about the move here: https://plainfieldcoop.com/plainfield-coop-expansion-project/

Length Loan  Payback Date
7 years 12/31/2031
10 years 12/31/2034
13 years 12/31/2037
16 years 12/31/2040

Your interest and full loan repayment will be paid out of sales revenue. In the loan packet, we have included the financial pro forma, which is a projection of future revenues.

We have a team of board members and local volunteers ready to answer your questions. 

Our goal is to raise $500,000 in loans, in amounts of $2,500 to $100,000 (or more). 

How do I make a loan or learn more about making a loan?

We have loan packets available that include all legally-required financial disclosure information to ensure you are fully informed. We would love to sit down with you to answer any questions and walk you through all of the information provided. Reach out to us today at board@plainfieldcoop.com to request a phone call or a visit with one of our volunteers.

Why should I consider a donation – instead of, or in addition to, a loan?

If you have the financial ability to make a donation instead of, or in addition to a loan, these funds will give the Co-op more flexibility in the coming years to invest in potential improvements. Current ideas include everything from community gardens, to a playground, to EV charging stations. All donations are tax deductible. Reach out to us today to talk about making a donation at board@plainfieldcoop.com

I can’t loan that amount. How else can I support the move?

Donations of any size are most welcome. Plainfield Co-op is your co-op! The more people supporting this project, the stronger we will be. You can give at the store, or mail a check to: 

Plainfield Co-op

℅ Board of Directors

P.O. Box 266 

Plainfield, VT 05667

If you itemize your taxes and would like to make a tax-deductible donation, make you check out to  Cooperative Development Institute, our nonprofit fiscal sponsor.

You can also give online at https://givebutter.com/plainfieldcoophardware.

If I make a loan or give a gift, will my name be made public?

You decide. We would love to celebrate everyone who is helping to support this project. When you make a loan or give a gift, you can choose if you want to be anonymous, or if you would like to be recognized and how you would like your name(s) to appear. 

How else can I help?

Tell your neighbors, family, and friends about this exciting opportunity. You don’t need to be a member to make a loan or give a donation. If you care about investing in our community, in having fresh food and groceries available locally, and want to support a thriving local business that continues to provide more than 25 jobs to your neighbors, join us with a loan or gift.

Of course, we would love to include you as a new or returning member of the Plainfield Co-op. You can find information on membership and how to join on our website at  https://plainfieldcoop.com/membership/ or in the store.

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