Slow Money San Luis Obispo
Reported by Jeff Wade.
Slow Money SLO has facilitated more than $350,000 in peer-to-peer funding and business-development coaching to more than a dozen companies.
“A great collection of volunteer help and community support allowed us to make this move and be where we are a year later,” says Aimee Wyatt, president of the Co-Op Board. “The funding through Slow Money SLO made the difference between shutting down and creating this wonderful new space and source of high quality, local food.”In Fall 2012, SLO Natural Foods Co-Op faced a big decision: move from a site it had occupied for nearly 30 years to a new location in San Luis Obispo—allowing for more shelf space, off-street parking and longer hours—or close up shop. Thanks to the first set of loans from the fledgling Slow Money SLO group, the store was able to choose the former; they celebrated a grand reopening at their Victoria Avenue site in Summer 2013.
Slow Money SLO and SLO Natural Foods recently banded together—on their two-year and one-year anniversaries, respectively—to celebrate this success. The anniversary event, held at the Co-Op, included music, local food vendors, the SLO Natural Foods annual members meeting, and a sale on local products.
Other recent Slow Money SLO success stories include Native Herbs and Honey, Reef Points Cider, and Off The Farm. Native Herbs used Slow Money SLO funds to purchase equipment and hives to expand their honey production and start bringing in revenue from pollination opportunities. They have now moved into a larger facility with a kitchen and space to offer other local products. Reef Points Cider was able to respond to a growing demand for their products with an additional source of juice and multiple harvests to draw from each year. Off The Farm translated Slow Money loans into a new line of superfood cereal, based on common ingredients in their bar product. The cereal sells out at each event Off the Farm attends and enjoys repeat orders at the initial retail locations. And the list goes on: Slow Money SLO is now in business-support discussions with four other local food businesses.In its two years of life, Slow Money SLO has facilitated more than $350,000 in peer-to-peer funding and business-development coaching to more than a dozen companies, thanks to local investors. The result: an increase in locally produced food and employment for small entrepreneurs who otherwise might not have had funding.
Go to www.SlowMoneySLO.org for more information and to complete a short form to get involved, as an investor or as a food and farm entrepreneur.Slow Money SLO welcomes those who want to know firsthand where their money is invested and what is possible, even with a small loan. There is no membership fee to participate, and this is not an investment club. All peer-to-peer loans are made between our food and farm friends and the individuals who wish to support them. The group and its leadership simply enable these connections and support to occur.