Food Co-op Initiative is thrilled to announce its all-new Guide to Starting a Food Co-op. Built on ten years of experience supporting and observing Third Wave food co-ops, this new Guide incorporates the best ideas and most successful approaches communities are using to organize startup food co-ops. Every year, food co-ops face stronger competition and higher startup costs, yet they are still able to open vibrant, successful stores.
A truly successful co-op is one that not only runs a stellar store and keeps the books in the black. Such a co-op also makes room for co-op participants—owners, customers, and staff—to play a part in its forward momentum, in a space where they are given the chance to shape the future co-op. If we think about the co-op as a place that reflects and acts on the values of its owners and works toward ends based on those values, then it’s critical that the co-op provide ways that owners can share in the accomplishment of those goals.
Multi-stakeholder cooperative governance may not be familiar to many in the U.S. consumer co-op movement, but it is widely seen as an appropriate and progressive model of governance for cooperatives of all kinds. More importantly, it is a way to foster the kind of member engagement that many see as crucial if cooperatives are to survive and thrive in the modern world.
Data from 104 co-ops with annual sales ranging from $1M to $74M
In 2006 and 2011, this magazine published studies on general manager (GM) compensation. Continuing that tradition, here’s a look at the state of management compensation in food co-ops today.
The 104 general managers in this study serve co-ops ranging in size from $1 million to $74 million in annual sales.
One of the most anticipated new food co-ops has opened its doors to a welcoming community. The Renaissance Community Co-op (RCC) is not a typical food co-op, and their path to success was exceptional as well.
Developing the local food economy in a remote region is necessarily playing a long game.
Food Co-op Initiative Partners with University of Vermont
As leaders in promoting sustainable food systems, the University of Vermont and Food Co-op Initiative have joined forces to create a comprehensive, online training program covering everything you need to know to successfully open a retail food co-op. Here’s the site for full information: http://learn.uvm.edu/program/food-co-op/.
Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op (SNFC) completed a $9.5M relocation project and on October 12 opened its beautiful new store in California’s capitol. The facility gives the co-op a much larger retail space while bringing co-op offices back into the same building. The former store measured 16,000 square feet, and the co-op had leased an additional 7,500 square feet of offices in several other buildings. The new store nearly doubles that total, with 26,000 square feet on the ground floor plus a 16,000 square-foot mezzanine.
Successful small businesses see their future defined more by what their employees will need to know going forward than merely by what they need to know right now. A commitment to learning on the part of cooperative business leaders is a critical aspect for retaining great employees and keeping them engaged.
Looking at today’s social needs, approaches that are based on common interests are both threatened by a dysfunctional political economy and made more attractive by its failures. No need to discuss those damages here, except that the ruling group is likely to bring more—the bandage is being ripped off.