Waranga News

Save our store! Colbinabbin locals propose community shareholder plan


Save our store! Colbinabbin locals propose community shareholder plan image

It all started one day when some clever local women came up with the idea to purchase the Colbinabbin Store, which has been on the market for two years now, using a community-owned shareholder model.

The concern these women held, along with many other locals, was that Colbo could lose the store (which includes the post office), as has happened in surrounding areas. Needless to say, losing the store would have devastating consequences on the community.

The idea was discussed at length, and gained legs when local Matt McEvoy, was able to look at it with a fresh perspective and give the idea the push it needed.

Subsequently, Matt and a group of Colbo locals formed a steering committee, and have been putting together a plan for a community shareholder-type purchase of the Colbinabbin General Store.

The group unanimously agreed the store needed to evolve and grow along with the needs of the town in today’s modern, changing world. They proposed a community shareholder model because it offered this possibility for change and growth through the following:

  • If people had ownership of the store, they would be naturally more inclined to support it.
  • With this model, profits would go back to the whole community, helping to localise our economy.
  • This in turn would create future security for the store and all the services it currently offers, plus more.

One of the immediate foreseeable advantages would be the large financial injection from the community as a whole, which would allow for significant renovations and refurbishment of the existing premises, bringing a bright, new look and feel to the ageing storefront.

The steering committee has had meetings with various accounting and law firms and has engaged GMG Financial Services from Swan Hill, to assist them with this venture. GMG recently oversaw the successful community takeover of the Lockington Hotel.

The steering committee is proposing the project will need to happen quickly in order to capitalise on other upcoming community projects - namely the painting of the silos this year. Initial pledging from locals to date have been very positive, however, for this project to proceed they are aiming to raise between $400,000 - $450,000.

Locals and beyond will have the opportunity to buy shares in the shop for a specified amount (e.g. $500/share) and expect a dividend on that investment.

The vision for the future of the Colbinabbin Community Storewould include:

  • Continuing to provide all the same services that it does today as a general store, with general takeaway, fresh produce and basic household essential items
  • Operating hours will increase significantly – aiming for 7am-7pm, 7 days a week
  • Renovations will create a light-filled, modernized, café-style store with fresh coffee along with café and bakery goods
  • It will continue to include the post contract (a vital service for the community)
  • The mail run will continue, but will possibly also deliver fresh produce to your door
  • It will also showcase local goods and produce.
  • It would provide up the opportunity for 100 hours a week of local employment.

A town meeting will be held at the Colbinabbin Memorial Hall next Wednesday 19 February, at 6pm.

A representative from GMG Financial Group will be present at this meeting to answer questions and provide further information.

Right now though, is your opportunity to provide some feedback. Please, tell us what you want from the proposed Colbinabbin Community Owned Store – click on the link below and complete the survey.

Printed survey forms are also available at the Colbinabbin Store

The steering community wants to hear from the local community so if you have any feedback or questions, wish to pledge, or want to be involved in this project, please contact them at: colbinabbincommunitystore@gmail.com or 0424 567 133 – Matt McEvoy 0418 333 177 – Dea Brown

Steering Group – Colbinabbin Community Store Project: Dea Brown, Matt McEvoy, Shonelle McEvoy, Marty Borger, Iain Downie, Michelle Rathjen