CUMMINGTON, Mass. — The transition of the Old Creamery in Cummington to a community-owned cooperative grocery store took a giant leap forward this month with Florence Savings Bank's commitment to provide necessary outside financing.
Thanks to the bank's commitment, just one more fundraising task remains before the Old Creamery Co-op can purchase the business. In a drive to raise a total of $285,000 in member-owner loans or additional gifts — the final financing component — three community members have challenged the greater co-op community by promising $25,000 if member-owners pledge an additional $75,000 by the end of the month.
If this challenge is met, the co-op will be able to purchase the business and proceed with renovations to the store and grounds, and finish the last of the fundraising during this year. Of the needed $285,000 in member-owner loans and gifts, $135,000 has been raised already.
"We are excited to be providing the financing support for the Old Creamery Cooperative project in Cummington," said John Heap, president of Florence Savings Bank. "We are also looking forward to serving our Hilltown customers with ATM service at the Creamery when the renovations are completed. The Creamery has been part of the Hilltown community for more than 100 years and we are happy to play a role in building the financial foundation for the next hundred."
Financing for the project, including acquisition, construction, and a capital credit line, is being provided by Florence Savings Bank.
"The vibrant cultural heart of the Hilltowns is the Old Creamery in Cummington," said Rachel Maddow, MSNBC host, author of the best seller "Drift," and a Hilltowns resident. "It is my favorite retail establishment in the entire universe."
The Creamery, in turn, has created a sandwich called the "The Spicy Maddow" to honor the well-known supporter of the co-op.
"The Old Creamery is one of the most values-based and community-oriented businesses I have ever known," said co-op member and longtime Creamery cook and baker Emmy Howard. "I feel very fortunate to be able to work and shop at a business that is able to hold service to the community and environmental awareness as guiding principles. Because the community, in turn, supports the Creamery, it is able to remain a viable business that continues to give back to the community. If this sounds circular, it is, and that is the beauty of the Old Creamery and its community."
To learn more about the creation of the Old Creamery Cooperative, visit www.OldCreamery.coop.
Submitted by Bill Latimer, communications coordinator for Old Creamery Cooperative
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