Co-Op Cottage Industry

One of the primary objectives for the Co-op is to create opportunity.  We've got investors, shareholders, a couple of hundred sharecroppers plus their families, and an untold number of patrons and supporters in the community.  For a small business, I think we can offer an incredible opportunity for people to diversify their income.  It would be relatively easy to include cottage industry in our plan.  By cottage industry I refer to any small business that can work out of a small space, a cottage.  
Starting up a business is tough.  There's the product or service that the individual is focusing on.  You've got to find suppliers, customers, deal with banks, licenses, incorporation documents, insurance, taxes, come up with the money for equipment, supplies, utilities, and lease a site.  Meanwhile, you still have to pay your bills and can't give up your day job.  Making the Leap of Faith to start a business is a difficult decision.  We can make it easier.

The requirements for a small business in the public venue has everyone working independently.  You need your own structure, be it a lease or purchased.  You gotta have the power, water, sewer turned on, there needs to be parking available somewhere.  The simple need for a bathroom has to be taken into account.  When it comes to lunch, you need a fridge and probably a microwave or you have to lock the place up for an hour while you fight traffic and wait in line.

There are plenty of small business that could be highly successful if only they had a place to do their thing.  In many cases, all they need is a booth, a roof, a room, or a cottage.  Working co-operatively there are all sorts of options on the table.  Several of these entrepreneurs can get together to share a lease on a largeer office space.  Same sort of thing I'm describing in this plan.  They would still be on their own and have to handle all the details as to sharing the lease.  With our co-op already in place, all they would have to do is pay rent.  Everything else is already in place.

We've got hundreds of people in the group.  Most of them need a haircut every few months.  A barber shop does not really fit in with the enterprise, and staffing it with a rotating crew just doesn't work.  As a group, we'll never be in the hair business.  However, it's quite possible we have someone in the group with the skills and desire to open a barber shop.  All they need is a place.  We can provide that place.

Taking the term Cottage Industry literally, it would not at all be difficult to erect a few sheds.  Finish the interior, dress up the outside, add power.  Heating and cooling is done with a space heater and window air conditioner.  These cottages would not have water and sewer services.  The investment in this case makes the project too costly.  Without water/sewer, there may be some small businesses that won't work.  For those that can work, here is a small space, turnkey ready to hang a shingle and open for business.  We've got a bathroom, a break room, that fridge and microwave or lunch to go.  We've got parking.  We've got a place to hang your shingle, an address to send your mail, wifi, and a whole lot of folks already spending money on your product or service.

You have to pay rent for the structure.  If you need heat and air conditioning or some equipment that consumes a bunch of electricity, we'd have to look at that and charge accordingly.  Something like a tanning bed will eat some power.  It may be required that the electricity be served directly from the utility.  Low utility consuming small businesses can fit in for a very low cost.  Let's have a look at some examples.

An Art studio
You spend your evenings and weekends scuplting or painting and need space to display your pieces for sale

A Barber Shop
Just a regular guy who cuts hair.  It may be possible to remodel a space in the main structure with hair wash stations, but this starts to get into greater utility use.  Perms tend to put out an odor which isn't going to work with a food service operation.  Regular old hair cuts, yeah, that's possible.

A weekend Jeweler
I have a friend who travels to events, shows, jamborees, sets up a booth and plies her wares.  She makes good money.  Putting together several vendors with high quality products starts to turn into a weekend craft fair.

Candy Store
Rent the licensed kitchen to produce the candy.  Once made, it can be retailed.  

Cake Decorating
This sort of business would fit well inside the main structure with access to water.  You make wedding cakes...we've got the ovens, ingredients, food license.  

Woodwork
We've got the workshop.  You can build your goods, use the cottage to sell them.  Cases, cabinets, curios.  Butcher blocks and bunk beds.  

Office
If all you need is office space, there is much opportunity here.  Talk to the woodworking guy about a desk.  Graphic design, desktop publishing, advertising,  accounting, CPA, tax preparation, insurance sales, notary public services.  

Retail
As with the weekend jeweler and candy store, sometimes all that is needed is the space to market the product.  Is there a golf store in town?  I know a fellow who turned his car into a hobby shop.  He does those model racecars.  Opens on weekends.  

Nails
I'm not all that familiar with how this works but I've walked past some nail salons in malls.  Looks like a small operation.
I'm thinking this will need water/sewer for sanitation.

Games
Back in the day I knew of a sall store that only sold games.  This was when Dungeons N Dragons was in vogue.  With all the video games out there, I'm sure there is some trading in used games and equipment, and probably repair.

Collectibles
Comic books, coins, stamps, dolls and action figures, postcards, those fancy silver spoons, people collect all sorts of things.  Scrapbooking is a 'Thing' which needs supplies but the market is perhaps too small to support a store open every day.  Perhaps this is the sort of opportunity a Couponer could make good use of.

Homebrew
Bottles, caps, cappers, equipment, carboys and roasters, BME, hops, yeast, bottle racks, books, testing supplies, whole grains.  Homebrewing is a hobby of accumulation and they gotta get it from somewhere.

Scheduled Transportation
Rather than a taxi, an industrious entrepreneur can offer transportation scheduled ahead of time. 

 

Cooperative Enterprise, Plan Outline