Successful 6-Week, $300,000 Capital Campaign for Green Top Grocery Co-Op (Project Consultant)

In the fall of 2018, I (Holly) had the tremendous honor of being tasked by Green Top Grocery‘s Board of Directors to manage a six-week, $300,000, capital campaign. Spoiler alert: we made it!

Board President Michael Gorman celebrates the campaign milestone of $300,000!

The capital campaign comprised “Phase 2” of the cooperative business‘s Turnaround Plan. I was contracted for both the planning phase (August-late September) and active phase (late September-November) of the campaign. The Green Top Grocery (GTG) capital campaign called for a combination of owner loans, donations, events, and corporate gifts and matches, was successful. We raised almost $310,000 together in 6 weeks!

Nearby Keg Grove Brewery hosted a “Celebrity Bartender” event benefitting GTG to support the campaign.

Cooperative businesses rely on owner equity and investment just the way any other business does. Raising $300,000+ was the only way to ensure the longevity of GTG, which employs over 20 people and purchases from almost 90 producers from within 100 miles of the store. Since opening, GTG has helped local farmers develop sustainable, year-round sales, expand their production, and even build new facilities.

Epiphany Farms Restaurant Group owner Ken Myszka supported the campaign by catering a live auction fundraiser at David Davis Mansion.

Nathan and I have been owners since before the store opened in May 2017, so we were already big supporters and wanted to help the store succeed.

$1 Taco Tuesday nights at Green Top are a family favorite!

The campaign was a heavy lift and required long hours and the help of a dedicated team of board members and volunteers. It was also really, really fun, and introduced me to a whole lot of great new people in this community.

General Manager Christa Kramer and Board Member and founding owner Melanie Shellito thank owner Dennis Killian for his support during the campaign by letting him be “GM For A Day.”

As campaign manager, I produced the following deliverables:

  • Planning a large owner meeting to launch the campaign
  • Face-to-face, individual meetings with owners
  • Cultivating community awareness of store, the campaign, and why it all matters by attending community meetings on GTG’s behalf
  • Planning and facilitating staff meetings and trainings relevant to the campaign
  • Recruiting and training volunteers to support campaign calls, tabling events, mailings, etc.
  • Collaborating closely with industry legal and financial advisors
  • Writing documents such as: an online early commitment form; volunteer recruitment survey; press releases; emails to owners several times per week; visuals (slides) for the owner meeting; loan packets including cover letter, disclosure, subscription agreement, promissory note, Campaign FAQ, Impact Data Fact Sheet (e.g., SNAP and Link match sales, Round Up and Positive Change totals, economic impact on farmers, etc.); major rewrite of the Business Plan (previously dated January 2017); testimonials from staff, farmers, charitable beneficiaries, and owners about GTG’s impact; equity recommendations; IL Prairie Community Foundation Green Top Grocery Fund approved uses list; memorandum of understanding with 501c3 fiscal agent
  • Detailed campaign tracking
  • Campaign status reports to board and owners at least weekly
  • Whatever else it took to get the job done!
Pie and tart sampling on a busy day at GTG.

Working with the GTG family on this effort was such an honor. I learned so much, and am even a bigger fan than I was before of this amazing place that is SO MUCH MORE than “just a store.” Let’s keep working to make sure it succeeds for a long, long time!