A Fat Patties gift card is pictured. Fat Patties is closed and is still for sale after the Carbondale Spring announced this week it didn't raise enough money to buy Fat Patties in time.

CARBONDALE — Despite raising more than $26,000, the Carbondale Spring will not be buying Fat Patties.

The social and political activist group started a GoFundMe campaign July 20 to raise $45,000 to purchase the now-shuttered local business and form the city’s first worker co-op — a model of business that puts ownership of a business in the hands of its employees.

However, in a news release sent Thursday, the group announced that it had not raised the funds in time to purchase the business.

“We thought we had more time with this and unfortunately we didn’t,” Nick Smaligo, one of the organizers of the Carbondale Spring, said Friday.

However, this is not the end of the group’s attempt to reinvent business ownership in Carbondale. Because GoFundMe does not set a time limit on fundraising and allows organizers to withdraw funds throughout the process, the Carbondale Spring has been able to substantially add to the revolving loan fund the group plans to establish to provide loans for businesses interested in the ownership model. In fact, the donation page is still active and soliciting donations.

While disappointed that the Fat Patties purchase didn’t go through, organizers were enthusiastic in announcing the establishment of the Revolving Loan Fund board.

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Serving on the board will be:

  • Ken Stikkers, professor of philosophy at Southern Illinois University Carbondale;
  • Amy McMorrow-Hunter, head of marketing and new program development at the Advanced Coal Energy Research Center;
  • Ray Lenzi, former CEO of SIU Research Park; and
  • Chuck Paprocki, former management strategy consultant for and international nongovernmental organization.

Smaligo reiterated the update on the fundraising page, saying that soon the group would be opening up applications for the loans. He said the group is currently working on incorporating the Cooperative Revolving Loan Fund, which will operate independently of the Carbondale Spring.

In the news release, organizers encouraged “LGBTQ and other marginalized candidates” to participate in the Carbondale Cooperative Revolving Loan Fund Understudy Group. It said the Understudy Group will get firsthand training and lending experience, with a direct path to sitting on the board.

“Not only will people who have been excluded from the conventional economy be prioritized in the loan process, this is also an opportunity for marginalized people to participate in complex skill-sharing otherwise unavailable to most,” organizer Clare Killman said in the release.

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On Twitter: @ismithreports


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