Co-op members vote to dissolve, but not quite yet

Medford's planned cooperative food store will dissolve in two weeks unless private donations appear.

Owners of the Medford Market voted 77 to 4 Monday night to dissolve the organization, after an ad hoc committee came forward with an amendment extending the dissolution deadline to Nov. 15.

The Medford Market has been making last-ditch efforts to gather the $1.5 million it needs to open its doors. After 2 1/2 years of effort, the organization learned in August that its major lender, National Cooperative Bank, tabled the loan due to increased loan restrictions.

Velda Welch, president of the board of directors, said after a lengthy discussion at Monday's meeting, the owners decided to adopt the amendment in the hopes that people would come forward with the needed $1.5 million in loans to get the store off the ground.

She said such funds have not appeared yet, and likely would not in the next couple weeks.

"What that gives us is a couple of weeks to make sure things are in place," she said.

In 2 1/2 years, the co-op has raised $200,000. Less than half of that has been spent on a year's lease for the Hubbard's Hardware building. Other costs have included attorney fees and interior renovations to the Hubbards building. Welch has said the organization has no money left.

She said attorneys and financial advisers say the demographics of Medford show the city could not support the store, and something smaller like a buying club might work.

— Meg Landers

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