Shannon Dobbs is the owner of the 5 Star Saloon and president of On Common Ground, a non-profit grocery store slated to open downtown. OCG will hold a fundraiser featuring dancers from Magic Mike XXL, a 2015 movie in which Channing Tatum plays a stripper. The event, geared toward people of any gender who are 21 or over, is at 8:30 p.m. Sept. 1 and 2, 132 West St. For tickets and information, visit 5StarSaloon.com. To learn more about On Common Ground, visit OCGReno.org.
Your website says you’re opening a sliding-scale grocery store. How does the sliding scale work?
There is a shared database resource that all the non-profits use to provide services to people that are low income. That includes people that receive food from the Food Bank of Northern Nevada. What we’re hoping to be able to do is to tie the database in with our point of sale at the registers, which will allow us to identify those qualified through WIC and SNAP programs with need and reduce the cost to the customer on approved food to our cost, as well as to sign up new customers with need and share that data back with other help organizations. It appears, through recent discussion with Nevada welfare administrators, that this will be a feasible way to address this challenge.
Is the store based on a similar type of venture that exists somewhere else?
Yes, there is a non-profit that was formed in Massachusetts. It was formed by Doug Rauch [former president of Trader Joe’s and current CEO of Conscious Capitalism]. He has an agreement reaching out to local ranchers and growers, supplying that food at a discount rate to people who are in need. The sliding scale I came up with after talking with Food Bank of Northern Nevada.
You’ll work with local ranchers and growers, too?
We certainly intend to. We’re going to go farther than that. We want to get classes in place for people who don’t have cooking skills to get a basic understanding. We’re going to seek out grant applications for slow cookers and hot plates. If you go on the USDA website, this area is listed as a micro food desert. Our goal is to alleviate that scarcity of fresh, nutritious food.
What other plans do you have?
I fully intend to capitalize on what’s called ugly food. If it didn’t come out perfectly round—we’re going to sell that at a discount. … Ugly food is sexy.
Do you have funding?
We’re reaching out to the community, reaching out to make sure we have all the information about what the community wants in a store. We’ll start putting in grant applications in November.
When do you plan to open?
We don’t have an ETA as of yet. We have to get all the details in place and make sure we have an understanding of all the elements in place to make this happen. We’re anticipating within 18 months though.
Is your background in non-profits, grocery stores or other?
None of the above. Michelle [Peltier, On Common Ground’s director] has an extensive background in non-profits. My background is business. I’ve been running 5 Star Saloon for the past 11 years.
What else should people know about the store?
This is a community effort. This is a grassroots effort. … We call it On common Ground because we bring everybody to the table to take on a common issue. It’s a community effort.