Published May 24, 2013
Organizers of an effort in Spartanburg to open a cooperatively owned grocery market have received a $571,800 loan pledge, contingent on the co-op reaching a $3.58 million fundraising goal by mid-July. The Hub City Co-op needs to raise another $1.96 million.
The board and owners of the cooperative announced the Lowcountry Housing Trust commitment will enable the co-op to purchase a building at 176 N. Liberty St. from Champion Investment Corp.
The Hub City Co-op will use the Lowcountry Housing Trust’s loan to purchase this building on North Liberty Street. (File photo/Provided)
“Securing the loan from Lowcountry Housing Trust is a huge step toward accomplishing our fundraising goal,” said Erin Ouzts, chairperson of the cooperative board.
Michelle Mapp, the lender’s executive director, said the trust seeks opportunities “to invest in innovative projects that not only benefit underserved communities across South Carolina, but are likely to serve as models for community development throughout our state. That is why we are excited to partner with Hub City Co-op, the first of its kind healthy food retail co-op in South Carolina.”
Mapp said the loan “will provide community and economic opportunity for the Spartanburg area and access to healthy food for its residents.”
Since 2010, more than 980 individuals and businesses in the community have shown support for the co-op by purchasing ownerships, according to a co-op statement. Preferred shares have also been sold, with investments ranging up to $100,000.
The Lowcountry Housing Trust’s loan commitment is contingent on the co-op meeting its fundraising goal of $3.58 million by July 12.
“This enormous step toward our fundraising goal is a great challenge to our community and owners to invest in the co-op so that we can raise the remaining funds and begin construction as soon as possible,” Ouzts said. “The number of co-op owners is still growing, proving that our community is up for the challenge.”
The board has said that if the fundraising goal is met by July 12, construction on the building can begin in mid-August, and the store can open as early as May 2014.