Dear friends and fans of Ram Wools Yarn Co-op in Winnipeg, Manitoba. We have been operating as a worker co-op for the past 8 out of the 40 year history of the store. When a group of employees were offered the opportunity to purchase the business from the original owner, we have to admit, we were a bit scared. It was a lot to take on. None of us were wealthy, or had the kind of collateral to be able to get a loan and we had to use our own drive and determination to get the new store off the ground. We spent hundreds of hours volunteering our time and made enormous personal sacrifices. Our dream was to keep the store going strong and keep our jobs while operating and growing under the 7 international principles of cooperation.
As a worker co-op, the members are the workers and the owners of the business. Unlike other businesses, we don't benefit directly from any profit, but we do have the autonomy of owning our labour and being able to participate as stewards of the business that provides us employment. It's because of this that we feel so passionately about what we do.
It's worth mentioning that beyond being a business, we have made it our mission to do good work in the community. We have brought people together on so many levels. When we put out a call to make warm hats, scarves and mittens, you have answered with overwhelming generosity. Together we have made a difference to the thousands of refugees, inner city kids, the homeless and other people in need in our city. We have provided a welcoming place for people of all abilities to sit and work together on their projects and receive the help they need. Through these activities, we have forged strong bonds of friendship and alliance between people who may never have gotten to know each other.
Another big part of Ram Wools' work is providing an outlet for small, local producers of art, craft and yarn. We have had a great response for being able to show our customers some of the amazing local talent that is in our hometown.
Unfortunately, during the past 8 years, we have had to overcome so many hurdles, some of which we thought would take a miracle to get through. We always hung on and kept going no matter what. We have taken drastic measures to keep this little yarn store alive and now we are asking if you can help.
This January, we had to move our location in order to survive. We believe the new space will give us the opportunity to finally get on our feet and make our dream a reality. The move came with expenses and there is always that period of time when customers have to find you again. It's been very tough all around. After going through so much, it would really be a tragedy if we had to close right when we have the chance to finally become self sufficient.
Here is what we are planning. With the funding we receive we want to:
Get a really nice, visible sign for our new store front
Pay some overdue bills that have been accumulating
Purchase some inventory to get the shelves looking great again.
Get our new hand dyed yarn line going.
We would like to think that your donation has value to you. If you have downloaded our patterns, received help with your projects or just appreciated us being here for you, we hope that you will donate to our campaign so that we can continue to be a part of this exciting and vibrant community.
Thank you from all of us.
Lori, Jason and Devon
Members of Ram Wools Yarn Co-op