"The Government Is Here to Help Small Businesses — Unless They’re Cooperatives" | Reginald Flynn For ProPublica
From the story: There are still no grocery stores across a wide swath of northern Flint, Michigan, where a Kroger and a Meijer closed after lead was found in the water in 2014.
So Reginald Flynn, a local pastor and community activist, convened a few people in the auditorium of a charter school he runs to talk about starting a grocery store. He wanted to start a cooperative — a community-owned business not bound by the decisions of a huge grocery chain — and began selling shares to neighbors at $250 each. But he still needed more startup money and had no success getting a bank loan.⠀⠀
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Now, after years of stitching together a patchwork of tax credits and grants, with nearly 900 member-owners from the community, Flynn has raised nearly all of the $7.6 million he needs to realize his grocery store dream. It could have happened earlier if he had gotten the same type of loan that the SBA guarantees for hundreds of thousands of smaller businesses.
“I think that the SBA could be more beneficial to the community if it opened up opportunities for co-ops to launch their businesses,” Flynn said. “And I think it’s a win-win.”