Wild Root Market

An artist’s rendering shows how the approximately $5 million Wild Root Market, planned for 500 Walton Ave., Racine, is envisioned to look.

RACINE — Wild Root Market officials announced they have raised more than $429,000 in loans and donations from its owners in a drive toward the $1.125 million in funds the cooperative needs to move the project forward.

Wild Root is trying to build and open a full-service grocery store with approximately 8,000 square feet of retail space in a former medical building at 500 Walton Ave. Plans include a delicatessen and café, local and organic meat, eggs and produce, bulk foods, bakery, wine and beer, supplements and more.

Since incorporating as a cooperative in September 2011, Wild Root Market has attracted more than 1,040 owner-members. The group said it has experienced rapid growth after announcing last spring the site for the intended grocery store. Wild Root has an accepted offer to purchase and has zoning approvals in place.

The co-op launched its owner investment program Sept. 19. To date, 117 owners have committed loans averaging $3,668 each. Another 40 owners have donated a total of $37,425. The group said in a news release that the $429,000-plus in loans it has raised represents 38 percent of its goal.

“Although we are overwhelmed with gratitude for those owners who have already stepped forward to make a loan or donation, we still have a ways to go in reaching our ultimate goal of $1,125,000,” stated Wild Root Market Board President Rose Nelson. “We want every owner to participate, and we need more people in the community to join the co-op.”

Loan terms

The total cost to purchase and renovate the building is estimated to be $4.8 million. The co-op’s $1.125 million fundraising goal represents its down payment for the additional financing needed to complete the project. The group’s finance committee has tentative commitments for this financing which will be secured if the fundraising goal is reached.

The minimum loan amount is $1,000, and there is no maximum. Interest rates vary from 2 to 5 percent depending on the size of loan made; loan terms are five to 10 years

Wild Root Market is also accepting tax-deductible donations from owners and non-owners through its fiscal sponsor, Cooperative Development Fund of CDS. Details can be found at www.wildrootmarket.coop/donate.

While still accepting owner loans and donations through the end of the year, Wild Root said it will pause its capital campaign for the holidays. In early 2018, the group will launch phase two.

Ownership in Wild Root Market is a one-time $200 purchase (that can be made in installments) and provides a vote in how the store would be operated, although ownership is not required to shop there.

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Reporter

Michael "Mick" Burke covers business and the Village of Sturtevant. He is the proud father of two daughters and owner of a fantastic, although rug-chewing, German shepherd dog.

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