For a couple decades or more, many food co-ops have been growing strongly – in sales, in member owners, in staffing and store size. Co-ops also have become more strongly networked, accumulating a great deal of shared professional experience that helps guide these businesses through the many challenges of growth and expansion.
Cooperative Grocer articles:
*A good introduction to thinking about retail co-op expansion is a 2005 article by Bill Gessner and Patricia Cumbie, "Co-op Expansions Raise the Bar: Retail performance is key when bigger is better”; it is linked below under Related Content.
A great many retail co-op expansion stories have appeared in Cooperative Grocer and can be found through an Library search for articles on “co-op expansions” or a co-op’s name.
Included among those past articles, "Avoiding Post-Expansion Burnout," by Carolee Colter, offers lessons that are not always anticipated. On this topic, see also another article linked below, "Avoiding Post-Expansion Burnout: The board of directors' role," by Bill Gessner.
A more selective list of Cooperative Grocer articles, including more depth of information and analysis on certain aspects of expansion, appears on the website of CDS Consulting Co-op.
*Much of the best knowledge and advice on retail co-op expansions has been distilled in the “Relocation and Expansion Toolbox,” by Bill Gessner and others. The publication is available in print and as a pdf download: see the link below under Related Documents.
NCGA Development Cooperative:
Assistance for retail co-op expansion is provided by the Development Cooperative, a subsidiary of the National Cooperative Grocers Association (https://www.ncga.coop). The Development Cooperative is growing in its resources and services; "NCGA Expands Development Focus," a brief sumary report from early 2013 by the Development Cooperative executive director, C.E. Pugh, is linked below under Related Content.