Manchester Food Co-op Finds Home in Bedford, NH

MANCHESTER, NH – The Manchester Food Co-op (MFC), a member-owned local food cooperative, announced plans to open its food cooperative at the Bedford Harvest Market location, 209 Route 101 in Bedford, during a member meeting held Jan. 18 at Waterworks Cafe.

Click here for FAQs about the Harvest Market deal

The Manchester Food Co-op, founded in 2010, currently has 1067 Member-Owners and has been working for the past three years to secure and operate a full service retail market to serve the Greater Manchester area.  The co-op will offer local food including: produce, meat, dairy and grocery items from NH Farmers and local businesses, while engaging the community in healthy food relationships.

The Harvest Market is currently owned by the Associated Grocers of New England (AGNE), also a cooperative. The MFC will begin to raise capital funds over the next several months with plans to secure the site by mid-summer. The transition from traditional grocery store to a co-op will begin in February with the product selection starting to convert to local, organic and sustainable selections. Once the capital goal has been reached, the store will undergo layout and design changes such as expanding the cafe and building a larger prepared foods section, as well as integrating bulk items, health and beauty, and supplements.

“This is a wonderful opportunity that presented itself to us, as a cooperative, to assume ownership of an already operating grocery location versus starting from scratch.  Using an existing store allows our community to build its co-op faster and Associated Grocers of New England is invested in the long-term success of the co-op,” said Sarah-Marie Cole, President of the Board of Directors for the Manchester Food Co-op.

“We are very excited to work with the Manchester Food Cooperative in this new venture” said Mike Bourgoine, President and CEO of AGNE.  “AG has been a retailer-owned cooperative wholesaler for nearly 70 years, and the Bedford Harvest Market location has been part of the AG family since 1989. This partnership is a wonderful opportunity for AG and we look forward to helping the Manchester Food Cooperative take root in this already successful location. AG New England supplies a number of member-owned cooperatives, some right here in New Hampshire, and they have become very successful supermarkets.”

Howard Brodsky, CEO and Co-Founder of the cooperative CCA Global Partners says the cooperative business model is about “empowering individuals” and bringing people together.

“I’m delighted to see Manchester coming together to support the opening of the food co-op which will make local, fresh, healthy food available to the community,” Brodsky said.

The Manchester Food Co-op and its newly hired General Manager will begin taking next steps to facilitate its member loan campaign to raise the capital funds needed to open the co-op. The co-op will begin to work closely with local producers and farmers, as well as with AGNE, to begin to transition the product selection.

“After an extensive review by the Board, it became obvious that this opportunity was our best option for success. This site provides significant benefits that were not available with any of the other locations we considered,” said Steve Freeman, Vice President of the Board of Directors.  “We looked at over twelve locations in the past three years. When this opportunity presented itself, we spent a considerable amount of time looking at the financial opportunities and conducting a third market study; all signs said this will be our first store!” Freeman has been a Board member for five years.

For updates and information, follow us on Facebook and visit us at

About the Manchester Food-Co-op: The Manchester Food Co-op strives to meet community needs as a full-service market and resource center operated in an environmentally and economically sustainable manner by offering healthy foods, goods, and services, at fair prices from local sources when possible, while promoting co-operative principles. The Co-op is 100 percent owned by its members. The Co-op is also mission driven, rather than profit driven. The mission driving our Co-op is year round access to fresh, healthy food from local sources! In addition, a co-op continuously evolves to meet community needs; Member-Owners give input for Co-op programs and products. Membership is not an annual fee, but an investment of $100 per household. This is an equitable share. When you become a Member-Owner of the Manchester Food Co-op, you also become an owner of the store, which explains the term “Member-Owner.”

About Associated Grocers of New England: Associated Grocers of New England, Inc., is the largest retailer-owned, wholesale grocery Distribution Center in New England. Serving the needs of Independent Retail Grocers of every store size and format… multi-store independent supermarket groups, community supermarkets, country stores, and convenience retailers.

Manchester Food Co-op plans to move into Harvest Market site in 2016.

by Carol Robidoux on Jan 18, 2016 06:50 pm Manchester

Add comment

Log in or register to post comments