Case Studies

Guiding the Fundamentals of Co-op Business

Seward Community Co-op Minneapolis, MN Year founded: 1972 Member investment: $75 Number of members: 20,000 Number of employees: 270 Locations: Franklin and Friendship grocery stores, cafe, production kitchen, administrative offices Ray Williams is Seward Community Co-op’s operations manager and recognizes that even though the co-op has achieved a lot over the years, especially in terms of growing its operations and diversifying staff and leadership, [...]

Leadership Development for Expansion Readiness

Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op Middlebury, VT Year founded: 1976 Member investment: $300 Number of members: 5,300 Number of employees: 85 Retail square feet: 9,000 The Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op is uniquely situated in small town Middlebury, Vermont. Rather than becoming one of those places that time forgot, it has maintained a vibrant community in a place known for its natural beauty and arts and [...]

Good Governance Makes Community Stronger

Maple City Market Goshen, IN Year founded: 1976 Membership investment: $100 Number of members: 3,000 Number of employees: 25 Recently, Goshen, Indiana was named “Community of the Year” by the state’s Chamber of Commerce. For many years, this northern Indiana town on the border of Michigan held many undiscovered charms. No longer. It’s an increasingly diverse town recognized for its civic pride, hosting many [...]

Nurturing Inclusion and Diversity on Staff

Takoma Park Silver Spring Co-op Silver Spring, MD Year founded: 1981 Number of members: 10,000 Member investment: $100 Number of employees: 48 Retail square feet: 4,600 The Takoma Park Silver Spring Co-op (TPSS) in Takoma Park, Maryland is a cooperative that is known for its diversity and inclusion among staff and customers. Currently, 48 employees from 20 countries work at the food co-op. Amongst [...]

Telling the Story of Local and Fresh

Moscow Food Co-op Moscow, Idaho Year founded: 1973 Member investment: $150 Number of members: 7,800 Number of employees: 120 Locations: retail store + coffee shop For a long time, the Moscow Food Co-op had dreamed of “telling beautiful stories” about the co-op. They made the investment in 2015 to launch a co-op magazine called Rooted. Since then, their dreams have come true, and then [...]

Weavers Way-Ambler Startup Merger Spurs Co-op Momentum

  Year founded: 1973 Member equity: $400 Number of members: 9,400 Number of employees: 200 Locations: six total, including a farmer’s market and one wellness and pet store When the only grocery store in Ambler, Pennsylvania closed, it galvanized the town of 6,500 people into action. Rather than recreate the former grocery store’s approach to conventional retailing, though, they explored launching a food co-op [...]

Ends Outline Co-op Communication Strategy

Three Rivers Market Knoxville, TN Year founded: 1976 Number of members: 8,200 Member investment: $200 Number of employees: 40 Retail square feet: 10,000 A few years ago, Jackie Arthur, the general manager at Three Rivers Market in Knoxville, TN, decided to switch up her approach to co-op communications with her board, staff and the community. One of the tactics she adopted was to reformat [...]

Leading Co-op Operations with an Equity Lens

Durham Co-op Market Durham, NC Year founded: 2015 Number of members: 4,000 Member investment: $100 Number of employees: 50 Retail square feet: 8,000 The startup vision for Durham Co-op Market in Durham, NC was to be a very inclusive organization, one that would be an integral part of the community in which it was located. It was important to the founding members that all [...]

Cooperative Service Training Helps Staff Promote the Co-op

Friendly City Food Co-op Harrisonburg, VA Year founded:  2011 Membership investment:  $200 Number of members:  1,800 Number of employees:  34 Retail square feet:  5,600 When Friendly City Food Co-op in Harrisonburg, Va. opened as a startup in 2011, they quickly gained a positive reputation in the community for providing great customer service.  As Mary Beth Kannen, the co-op’s front-end team leader said, “The name [...]

Reflecting Ends and Implementing Inclusivity Practices

Seward Community Co-op Minneapolis, MN Year founded:  1972 Member investment:  $75 Number of members:  16,000 Number of employees:  335 Business units:  two retail grocery stores, restaurant, production facility In 2013, when Seward Community Co-op began the feasibility process for their second location in a historically African American neighborhood in South Minneapolis, it experienced a tremendous amount of community interest as well as sharp questions [...]