€7,926
pledged of €15,000pledged of €15,000 goal
72
backers
0seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Wed, September 19 2018 8:17 AM UTC +00:00
€7,926
pledged of €15,000pledged of €15,000 goal
72
backers
0seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Wed, September 19 2018 8:17 AM UTC +00:00

About

The Urban Co-op - Growing our Community

The Urban Co-op is a co-operative grocery store, the first of it's kind in Limerick city, in Ireland. The co-op is run by the members for the members and we follow the international principles of co-operatives.  Our mission is to make wholesome affordable food available to all. Our shop has always been more than a shop. It is a community - we currently have over 900 members and over 70 local suppliers and that list is constantly growing.

Our first shop - way back when we were Limerick Community Grocery
Our first shop - way back when we were Limerick Community Grocery

We've come a long way since our set-up in 2013. We began as as a 19 member buying club in Mulgrave Street called Limerick Community Grocery. The people who came together to form the co-op were from various backgrounds but had common goals - better food, direct contact with suppliers, a co-operative model in Limerick and most importantly - making a difference.

We started slowly, initially operating only as a buying club - buying vegetables directly from 4 local suppliers and selling at cost to the members. After about six months we opened a shop for 2 hours each Friday. Eventually that became 4 hours and after some more time that extended to two days per week. Baby steps!!

In 2015 we changed our name to The Urban Co-op and got a new look for the building. By this time we had grown our product range to include eggs, bread and a small range of wholefoods. The shop was entirely run by volunteers, who still play a vital role in the running of our business.  Our directors are volunteers, and we have many volunteers helping out with the running of the shop, as well as running community events and educational talks and classes.

Our Board in early 2017 at Tait House in Southill
Our Board in early 2017 at Tait House in Southill

In 2016 we moved to a new home in Tait House in Southill. The building was bigger and we grew the product range a little more, adding chilled and frozen food. By this time we had two paid staff, who were ably assisted by our wonderful volunteer members. We appeared on "Nationwide" on RTE TV which saw a huge boost in member numbers. We took on a development manager who increased our product range and motivated us to think bigger.

Our two years in Tait House have been very happy, and during that time our membership has blossomed, but now it's time for bigger and better, and so we are taking a leap and moving to a new, bigger premises.

Our new premises, where we hope to create a real community hub
Our new premises, where we hope to create a real community hub

The new shop is much bigger, which is badly needed.  As our member numbers grew, more and more new products were requested, and so the shelves have taken over much of the space we had for chatting, mingling, swapping stories or even queueing easily! This has detracted from the friendly, easy-going atmosphere we love - and so we want to bring that back in the new premises.

But our bigger vision is for a one-stop community wellness hub - a place where you can connect with other members, practise yoga or tai chi, meet friends for a coffee, take a class or listen to an educational talk, find a book in the library, and of course when you're finished all that, do your healthy shopping!

Our new shop has just opened - it is a much bigger shop, and a more comfortable shopping experience. More room for local produce. More room for bulk buying and zero waste shopping. More parking and better access. More room means more choice!

New rooms waiting to be finished
New rooms waiting to be finished

We have started the process of building rooms for all our complementary activities - therapy rooms, classrooms, fitness rooms, kitchen and cafe, and much more.  We need your help to make it happen.  Your pledges will help us with the transition to the new space, and most importantly to finish the rooms and kit them out.  We already have members waiting to hire them - they will be busy places!

We've set our target at €15,000 which is the minimum we need to finish some of the rooms within the next few months.  If this figure is exceeded, we will use the extra money to buy more equipment, and also finish more of the rooms. This will help us run affordable cooking classes, educational talks and workshops, and much more. We have big plans!!

Bonus Opportunities:

Added to this kickstarter campaign, we have two special opportunities which have been offered to us and require extra support:

Special Needs Education Space

We have a space which could be used for a specific service which is aimed at special needs children - this is a matter close to our hearts. The service will need two rooms, including a bathroom, floor coverings and equipment and will cost €13,000 to finish - this is on top of the €15,000 we need for the other rooms.The therapist has offered us rent for five years if we can get this space up and running.  This service would be of great benefit to the children and there is great scope for collaboration with other therapies under the one roof. Also, the cafe and the shop would benefit the parents.

Biobag National Distributor

We have been offered the opportunity to become a national distributor of compostable packaging for Bio Bag who have been in the business for 30 years and already supply globally. We have the opportunity to buy a pallet of compostable packaging which costs €6500. Bio Bag already have a significant number of enquiries from Ireland in response to a Facebook page they created, so there are lots of customers out there. This product could be used in our shop, and by our suppliers. Compostable bags could also be sold to organic growers and producers all over the country. Our ethos is sustainable and environmentally aware, so we would love to grab this opportunity with both hands!

Please contact board@theurbanco-op.ie if you are interested in supporting these two opportunities directly.

Risks and challenges

Our shop is already open, and will expand with or without this campaign. The rooms would get finished eventually but we're keen to get them finished and kitted out as soon as possible, as there is high demand from our members, and also public bodies to hire them in the very near future. The sooner they are completed, the sooner we can start our affordable cookery classes and community events.

It's a bigger premises so the rent and other costs will be higher, but we're confident that our turnover will increase too, especially with a better choice in the shop and a much better location.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge €1 or more About US$ 1.14

    Become a Member

    By becoming a member, you are supporting the co-op's vision. You'll get a weekly newsletter with special offers, recipes, news about events, and community news.

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    Pledge €5 or more About US$ 6

    Basic donation to support what we do

    Pledge your support for the amazing work the co-op does. We will issue a public thank you on our website.

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    4 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge €20 or more About $23

    The Urban Co-op branded shopping bag

    Pledge €20 to support what we do and we will send you a branded shopping bag, posted anywhere in the world.

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    Pledge €50 or more About US$ 57

    €50 Voucher

    Pledge €50 and we will issue a shopping voucher to spend at the co-op from December (an ideal birthday or Christmas present!)

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge €50 or more About US$ 57

    Buy a Basket

    €50 pledge to buy an eco-friendly shopping basket for the shop. We will even put your name on it if you like!

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge €60 or more About US$ 68

    Therapy treatment or consultation

    Pledge €60 and we will issue you a voucher for a therapy treatment or consultation (eg nutrition, Amatsu, Bowen, well-being etc)

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge €100 or more About US$ 114

    Consultation with nutritionist

    Pledge €100 and get a personal one-hour consultation with one of our nutritionists.

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    Pledge €100 or more About US$ 114

    Consultation with Vet

    Pledge €100 and receive a one-hour consultation with our vet for holistic pet care.

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge €200 or more About US$ 228

    Buy a Trolley!

    Pledge €200 to buy an eco-trolley for the co-op. We will add your name if desired.

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    Pledge €500 or more About US$ 570

    Wellness Seminar

    Pledge €500 to €1000 and we will host a wellness seminar for your employees/colleagues with selected co-op experts - a day to remember!

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Funding period

- (21 days)