We would like to congratulate three local producers, who will receive micro-loans totaling $6,500 from the Chequamegon Food Co-op to help with projects this winter. These small, no-interest loans are capped at $5,000 and have a 3-year payback period. Micro-loan recipients for the fall 2019 loan cycle are as follows:


  • Owner Kathleen Presnell of Starlit Kitchen in Bayfield, Wis. will purchase local artist design of a new logo, new labels and eco-packaging for her vegan baked goods.
  • Owner Victoria Peters of Copper Pasty in Ashland, Wis. will purchase kitchen equipment to make her cooking and preparation process run more efficiently.
  • Owner Audrey Joyner of Rainsong Creations in Bayfield, Wis. will purchase a bulk roll of fabric to create her popular baby toy Sogg E. Bears.


All the funds awarded in this loan cycle came from the Co-op’s micro-loan program. The Chequamegon Food Co-op micro-loan program began in 2008 as a way for the cooperative grocery store to invest some of its profits in the local food system and to potentially provide more local foods for the Co-op’s shelves. In 2012, the Co-op began offering the Chip for Change program to increase the total amount of funds available in the micro-loan program. To date, the Co-op has awarded over $181,000 in micro-loans.

Over the past 7 years, money received through customer chips and micro-loan repayments has created a sustainable amount, so that micro-loans will now be dispensed from a revolving loan account.


Since the co-op will no longer need to put moneys into the micro-loan fund, beginning March 1, 2020, the co-op will begin a community grant program called: Round for Partners. Still a CHIP program, at the registers our customers will be asked to “Round up for a community partner”. At the end of the month, the co-op will donate all funds raised to that partner/organization. Organizations can apply to receive grant funds beginning December 1, 2019 and will be chosen by committee and will be based on the contents of their application. Applications for the calendar year of 2020 will be due February 1, 2020.