These ladies were interested in the folder given out with much information/shareholders forms etc. Mary Last, Michelle Baldry and Sally Lawler. Photo: Lynn Spain.

The Co-op public meeting was well attended with over 60 people at the Ex-Services Club on Tuesday.

CGRC Councillor Leigh Bowden chaired the meeting and opened with an Acknowledgement of Country.

Each member of the Steering Committee then introduced themselves to the audience with a brief comment about why they were involved.

Steering Group committee member Gwen Norman then brought the public up to speed of the Co-operative’s progress.

She outlined the progress that has been made by the action group over the last 14 weeks starting with the previous public meeting back in August.

The goal of the action group is to set up a store that will replace Target, the group said it is not an opportunity to bring competition to similar stores in town but to provide affordable items along the same lines as Target.

The business community understands that if we lose Target in town then we will also lose the patronage of people shopping here.

Donna Streher then outlined the results of the survey, which had around 200 responses.

Local businessman, Todd Basham, spoke about the fit-out requirements of a store, like the one that is being proposed.

Members of the Steering Committee of the Co-op LTd. Todd Basham was seen chatting with some locals in attendance. Gary Scifleet, Sharon Roberts, Bec Scifleet, Melissa Finnigan and Todd Basham. Photo: Lynn Spain.

Discussions with the current owner of the Target building have indicated that the Co-op has “first pick” in leasing the building.

There are also negotiations underway with Target to leave the fixtures and fittings in the store when they vacate, this could save the co-op up to $200,000 in start-up costs.

Richard Turnbull then outlined the governance and legal side of setting up the Co-op.

John Heath outlined the financial requirements in starting the co-op, showing the benefits of the cooperative management model compared to a normal company.

This means that profits from the Co-op stay within the local community.

Other benefits from the profit include revenues going to individual share members.

At this point in time it is estimated that the Co-operative will need to raise $750,000 as a minimum to open the store.

This amount would allow the store to open with reduced stock and staff members.

If the community can lift the initial start-up of $1 million then the Co-op will have more stock.

The share list will be 20,000 shares maximum at this time and the fully subscribed investment would give the Co-op a start up of $2 million.

At the moment the Group is asking for pledges of investment money, they are not able to collect money until there is a legal business to receive it.

Now it is up to the local community to indicate whether or not they think the co-op is a worthwhile investment in our Community.

Christopher Tan