For over a 20 years, the UNL Nebraska Cooperative Development Center (NCDC) has been working with startup and established “multi-owner” businesses throughout the state.
NCDC is Nebraska’s center for cooperative based business development. NCDC facilitates the formation of new business ventures and growth of existing businesses by providing technical assistance, training and education programs.
Cooperative businesses are unique because they are autonomous associations of people united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise.
NCDC works with groups who incorporated or have an interest in forming cooperatives, LLCs and other “multi-owner” businesses.
The remote village of Lynch, Nebraska, near the South Dakota border, lost its only grocery store and became a food desert in spring 2020. The community opened a new cooperative grocery store on March 26. NCDC assisted the community with community survey development, distribution, and analysis; community and steering team meeting facilitation, cooperative resource providers referrals.
The Lynch exploratory committee had extensive business experience albeit none in the grocery business. We had no idea how to reopen the store when we held our first zoom meeting with Charlotte Narjes in December 2020. Charlotte and Cynthia Houlden guided us through the survey process to gauge local interest. Charlotte, Cynthia and Jordan Rasmussen led us through the cooperative formation and the grant applications.
We would have given up a long ago without their help. As it stands right now, we have formed a cooperative, raised enough capital, purchased the former grocery building, secured a supplier, and plan to open in January or February 2022.
~ David Barnes, Lynch Grocery Exploratory Committee