Community Resources

 
 Washburn Community Foods

Washburn has Illinois' only community-owned grocery store, thanks an energized village and the former Alpha Community Bank. The story has attracted national attention from the AP wire services and national media. Operating since fall of 2000, the project is keeping Main Street a-buzz in a town where people pull together to make things happen.

Tim Schoon, president of the Washburn branch of the $125 million bank based in Toluca, Ill., rallied the community around the effort to preserve the town's store. Tim organized a committee to find ways to keep the store open, and the group came up with the idea of selling stock to buy the store outright. Nearly 100 people turned out at a meeting in support of the proposal.

Association members went door-to-door within a 15-mile radius of Washburn, soliciting people to buy shares at $50 each. Nearly 500 investors bought shares, raising more than $100,000. The money, along with grants and low-interest loans, was used to buy, remodel, and restock the store. Investors didn’t stop at raising money.  Volunteers also cleaned floors and walls, replaced light fixtures, repaired equipment, painted, and rearranged the floor plan of the store.

Now inside, the aroma of homemade rolls, breads, cakes, and pies, from the made-from-scratch bakery leased by local Mennonites, greets shoppers as they enter the store. You'll see an expanded produce department, a fresh meat case, a deli, a full selection of grocery items.

 

Tim Schoon initiated the WCF Project

" We, as a community, put this together and together we’re committed to making it work"

 

 

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