As often quoted in business school, the answer to the question when do you plan to open your first location is, “it depends”.  Many factors will determine our ability to open our first store in the next 6 – 18 months:

  • Location
    • We want to open in a Food Desert in Charlotte, NC and still need to find a site however we do have several areas in mind
    • We will be able to open sooner if we can convert an existing or former grocery store, longer if we have to convert a building other than a grocery store or have to build to suit
  • Funding
    • With a projected yearly operating budget of ~$4.5M, this is by far the largest hurdle to getting up and running.
    • Initially we will rely on fundraising, donations and grants however we strongly believe that even though the grocery industry has very small profit margins of about 1-3% by reinvesting those profits as well as through other available revenue streams that the market will have access to such as cooking classes; we will be self sustaining in possibly as little as 5-10 years
  • Partnerships
    • The quicker we can establish partnerships with businesses, philanthropic organizations & foundations, higher education, health care, other not-for-profits & government agencies, the sooner we can begin to implement programs and services such job training & placement, health screening and referrals to name a few
      • Some partnerships will also be revenue streams and/or expense reducers such as partnerships with major grocery chains generate income by using our store to test/pilot new planograms and/or store layouts, product placements, pricing changes, etc., as well as reduce expenses by providing volunteers and equipment
  • Volunteers
    • In order to keep cost low, the more donations of time we receive the sooner we will be able to open and offer all programs envisioned
  • Community
    • Once a location is determined, buy-in and support from the community will be essential.  This is where volunteers and donations will help to get people out and involved.  Without community involvement, it will be nearly impossible to achieve the long-term vision of creating healthy communities

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