Thanks to members of Sheet Metal Workers Local 24 and other building trades Locals, a new full-service grocery store will be built in an underserved Dayton neighborhood.
When it opens later this year, Gem City Market will become Dayton’s first worker and community-owned co-operative grocery store.
A co-op is unique because it is owned and democratically governed by its members, the people who use its products or services or those employed by the business.
Membership in the co-op is obtained through the purchase of a member share in the business, which does not change in value (in contrast to publicly traded corporations) and entitles the member to one vote in matters that come before the members.
To make this project possible, unions throughout Dayton, including SMW 24 their and union members have purchased shares. Store employees, Dayton building trades Local unions, other Dayton unions and members of the community also purchased shares.
The Dayton Daily News reported the store’s capital campaign has raised more than $3 million by selling 2,400 shares (or memberships) and the push is on to sell more shares in order to have as little debt as possible.
Construction is set to begin in February, weather permitting, on the $5.9 million, 15,800-square-foot store, which will be located in one of Ohio’s largest food deserts.
Besides selling groceries, Gem City will be home to a community space, where healthy food classes and other programming will be taught.
Work to construct the store will be performed under a Community Benefits Agreement.