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Non-Profit's goal is to purchase the Shaw Island General Store

Imagine the Shaw General Store open seven days a week, year round, managed by the Orcas Food Co-op. Imagine the store property owned by a community non-profit organization, self-supporting through the store, the marina, and other revenue sources on the property. This could soon be the reality, if a community effort to buy the store property is successful.

For over 100 years, the Shaw Store has been a hub: folks congregate, catch up, chat, check the mail, do the laundry, buy chicken feed, or buy excellent island produce and fine local brews. Now, a freshly formed non-profit - Save the Shaw Store - is raising money to purchase the property and ensure it continues on as a community benefit in perpetuity. The organization recently negotiated a letter of agreement with the Masons (the current property owners) and with the Orcas Food Co-op.

The agreement establishes the basic terms of the purchase: The Masons will sell the store buildings, warehouse, marina, and (eventually) the cabin property to the east of the store to Save the Shaw Store for a good price; the Orcas Food Co-op will lease the store facilities to continue its operations for the Shaw community; the Masons will help the Co-op get established in the store and will work with them on the ferry.

The Orcas Food Co-op’s offer to assist folks on Shaw fills in a necessary part of a puzzle: If Shaw Islanders are to keep the store and the landing operating successfully for the Shaw community, they need to know who will run the store. As a successful community-owned cooperative, Orcas Food Co-op has a proven track record, bringing expertise in management together with a deep commitment to community in the islands.

A similar project on Orcas provides an example for how this structure of community-ownership can be successful - In January 2020, Friends of the Olga Store Building, a non-profit, purchased the historic Olga Store Building to save the property from potential development and to house the Olga Post Office and a store.

The store portion will be operated by the Orcas Food Co-op, and is expected to open in its new form this spring.

Save the Shaw Store is hoping to pull off a similar success story. The Masons do want the store to remain a store, and they do want the properties to continue as an asset benefiting the Shaw community. The Masons are generously and carefully working with Save the Shaw Store to give the community this chance to make it all work.

Save the Shaw Store must gather approximately $1 million dollars in donation pledges for the down payment on the property. There are many opportunities to get involved in this project, both by giving a financial gift to this campaign, joining the board, and by volunteering to work on this project with us through construction, outreach, and more.

Visit www.savetheshawstore.org for more info and to make a pledge and join the email list!

If interested in further details please email savetheshawstore@gmail.com or contact:

Jennifer Swanson, Save the Shaw Store Board President jenswanson@hotmail.com

Anne Wysocki, STSS Board Member annefranceswysocki@gmail.com

- Submitted by the Save the Shaw Store Board of Directors 

 

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