The Leader: Dealing with a Downturn

The Fall 2015 issue of The Leader is available. Highly recommended for those co-op readers not already familiar with it, The Leader is a quarterly online study guide, a shared resource sponsored by National Co+op Grocers and available to all. The new issue, with comments by general managers and former board chairs, focuses on “Dealing with a Downturn.” Here’s an easy link on the present site to The

New pilot project helps local farmers and regional food security

A new regional co-op has begun operations with a pilot project helping local farmers get their goods to a broader range of markets.

The Kootenay and Boundary Food Producers Co-op began its market brokerage and distribution pilot in July with their new coordinator, Susan Warren.

They are working with farmers in the Salmo and Fruitvale areas to help find markets and distribute their products to those markets over the course of the summer.

Cooperative Communication Conundrums:

To be hopeful in bad times is   not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives... The future is an indefinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of that that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.—Howard Zinn

Reaching the Co-op’s Owners

Food cooperatives have a special relationship with their owners and customers, but even the best relationships need to be continually nurtured and cultivated. In a rapidly changing marketplace, one in which skillful competitors can outstrip other grocers on price, convenience, and amenities, customer loyalty is king. And consumers these days are notoriously fickle. A generation ago, people shopped somewhere for life. Today, one-third of grocery store consumers have switched primary stores within the last five years.1

Up and Running!

Eleven new food co-ops have opened since we reported last year, and as always, it’s a diverse group. The strong interest in food co-ops in New York City is reflected by two openings, and more are on the way. Larger startups in Durham, N.C. and Portland, Me., benefitted from the expertise of the National Co+op Grocers Development Cooperative. And on a small island off the coast of Seattle, the Orcas Co-op is showing how even a small, remote community can open a food co-op that exceeds expectations. 

New Co-op