Featured Article

The Death of the Supermarket?

In May I attended the 2016 HOW Design Live conference, an annual event that conceives of problem-solving as one of the primary jobs of designers. Julie Anixter, executive director of AIGA, the largest professional design organization in the world, reminded us that designers today are innovators, business strategists, visualizers, researchers, narrators, integrators, educators, and systems thinkers—among other leadership roles.

What Would Increased Happiness Do for Your Business?

Businesses often forget about the culture, and ultimately they suffer for it because you can’t deliver good service from unhappy employees.”  Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos

How would your co-op employees like a beautiful, private outdoor break space? Classes on bicycle maintenance and repair? Free yoga? These are just a taste of what came from the Ashland Food Cooperative’s groundbreaking [email protected] project, conceived in 2013.

Milestones and More

Among awards and milestones reported here and celebrated at the 60th annual Consumer Cooperative Management Association (CCMA) gathering, it is remarkable to note the 80th anniversary of Hanover Consumer Co-op and the 90th of Chatham Grocery Co-op. More within living memory, the 1970s marked the origin of most contemporary food co-ops, and this year we have an impressive class of 21 co-ops celebrating their 40th anniversary. Finally, in recent years many new food co-ops have successfully launched store operations, including 10 more during the past year.

Hybrid Startup Serves Island Community

Introduction: Outside the Mold

by Stuart Reid, Food Co-op Initiative

Among the hundreds of communities starting new food co-ops, there are always those who don’t fit the mold—some because they have unique visions, some because they have unique situations. Either of these can make it difficult to find the right solutions to becoming successful, sustainable food co-ops.

National Co+op Grocers Recognizes Co+efficient Sustainability Stars

National Co+op Grocers (NCG) was pleased to present Co+efficient Sustainability Star awards to 14 co-ops in Chapel Hill, N.C. this spring.            

Introduced in 2014, Co+efficient is a sustainability program designed to improve co-ops’ social, environmental, and local economic impacts. It offers a common framework for co-ops to measure their sustainability baseline, analyze strengths and opportunities, and improve sustainability results using program tools and resources.

Neighboring Food Co-op Association

As we celebrate our first five years since incorporation, the Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA) is looking forward to welcoming the co-op community to New England for the 60th annual CCMA (Consumer Cooperative Management Association) conference—hosted by the NFCA and our local members Franklin Community Co-op and River Valley Co-op and held at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Good Reporting

Co-ops bring to life their member-owners’ common values, and for most co-ops these include a desire for the co-op to be a great workplace. In the event that your co-op’s board of directors hears employees assert that something is amiss in the workplace, how will the board react? 

P6 Expands Equitable Trade Through Multi-Stakeholder Cooperation

The Principle Six Cooperative Trade Movement (P6) exemplifies just and equitable trade relationships among farmers, producers, retailers, and consumers rooted in cooperative principles and values. P6 is the symbol of a growing consumer-supported food economy that recognizes product grown and produced locally or internationally by small farmers or producers and cooperatives. 

Why Some Co-ops Fail

Four years ago I undertook an analysis of startup co-ops that had already closed. At the time, there were 63 startup co-op storefronts in my sample dating to 2006, and only 12 or 19 percent of them had failed. What has happened over the last four years? Are we opening more successful stores? Are co-ops failing for the same or different reasons?