April 2015 ALAP Meeting Recap

On a rainy April 9, the ALAP crew gathered for an off-site potluck meeting at the headquarters of Bay Area Recycling for Charities (BARC).  Founder and President Andy Gale and several of his BARC colleagues gave us a tour of their Barlow Street recycling facility and followed up with a discussion of the growth projects currently underway.  On the tour, we walked through the various sections of the sprawling facility and learned how BARC recycles all sorts of products including two of the latest extensions for the organization:  e-waste and mattresses.  While at first glance BARC’s activities at its Barlow facility seemed straight-forward enough (receive goods, dis-assemble and sort, and send them to buyers), it soon became clear that this is one complex undertaking!  Between managing inventory to cope with ever-shifting commodity prices and managing logistics to most efficiently control the costs of sending and receiving semis full of stuff, Andy and his team certainly have their hands full.

Our meeting was primarily focused on their relatively new compostables business, a business which is growing rapidly. This growth has posed some working capital challenges, which the BARC team is addressing with improved systems and additional staffers.  Andy and his team are now in the process of putting together a summary information package for prospective investors.  They have reached an interesting juncture in their development and have begun to identify a wide range of potential paths to pursue. For those interested in learning more, check out http://www.mybarc.org.

As the facility tour took most of our April meeting time, we did not discuss other ALAP business.  One notable development this week is that several ALAP members formed a formal investment club, Common Cents Capital, LLC, to pool funds and pursue future local investments collectively.  This is something that has been under consideration for some time and will hopefully accelerate the connection of local capital with local triple-bottom-line investment opportunities.  Going forward, ALAP will continue to be a group that brings local businesses and local investors (including groups like Common Cents Capital) together for informal networking and discussion of triple-bottom-line projects here in Northern Michigan.

The next ALAP potluck meeting is scheduled for Thursday, May 14 from 6-8pm at MLUI.  Speaker and agenda TBA.  We hope to see you there!