Medford co-op will vote on dissolution

The Medford Market, what was to be the city's first food co-op, is terminating its lease in the Hubbards Hardware building and has set a meeting for Monday for members to vote on dissolving the cooperative.

"They've exhausted all of their options, and they determined that it wasn't viable to do," said Bob Seus, who with his siblings owns the former Hubbard's Hardware building on Riverside Avenue and Main Street.

"We did everything we could," he said.

Organizers for the would-be Medford Market co-op grocery store have been leasing the space since November.

The organization sent out mailers to its members this week inviting them to attend Monday's meeting.

The Medford Market in September began last-ditch efforts to gather the $1.5 million it needed 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. NCB recently added the requirement that the organization qualify for loans at a Medford bank. Oregon banks generally do not lend to start-up businesses without a Small Business Administration government loan guarantee, and such guarantees are not given to startup co-ops.

The organization was incorporated as a co-operative in May 2006, and the status remains in effect until a resolution to dissolve it is voted on by owner members.

The obligation to the store's lease remains in effect until the market has been officially dissolved. Should the co-op dissolve, the $100 subscriptions would not be returned to members, a risk subscribers were told about.

The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday in the cafeteria at South Medford High School, 815 S. Oakdale Ave., Medford.

— Meg Landers

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