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City Market Seeks Investments From Members


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City Market's new South End store - MATTHEW THORSEN
  • Matthew Thorsen
  • City Market's new South End store

City Market, Onion River Co-op is seeking loans from its Vermont members to help pay for the cost of its expansion to the South End. The Burlington co-op, which has about 13,000 members, opened its second location, at 207 Flynn Avenue, last November.

The cost of the project — from traffic studies and site remediation to construction — was about $20 million, according to Allison Hope, the co-op's director of community engagement. Before the store's opening, the member-owned business launched a "targeted outreach" to certain members, seeking loans. More recently, the co-op has contacted "a wider swath of members" about its loan campaign, Hope said.

The minimum loan a Vermont member can make to the co-op is $2,500, with no maximum amount, though certain regulations (and more paperwork) come into effect at $10,000 or more, Hope noted.

"Our overall goal is $1.5 million," she said, adding that about 80 members have lent money to the co-op so far. Loans can be made in six classes, options that come with different maturity dates and interest rates — from zero to 3.5 percent, according to Hope.

For the loan campaign, City Market is partnering with Milk Money, a local business that pairs Vermont investors with Vermont businesses. The effort was initially designed to conclude at the end of March, but the co-op administration is seeking board approval to run the campaign through the summer, Hope said.

The last time City Market sought member loans was in 2000, before the opening of its store on South Winooski Avenue, Hope said. More information is available at

The original print version of this article was headlined "Cooperative Lending"


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