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The National Cooperative Grocers Association announced three new members and three new associate co-ops, while two former associates have joined as members, bringing the association to 134 food co-ops in 36 states with combined annual sales of more than $1.5 billion.
“We’re excited to have two associate co-ops become members and to welcome these six co-ops and the communities they serve,” said Robynn Shrader, CEO for NCGA. “Our collective growth year after year demonstrates that consumers nationwide continue to turn to community-owned food co-ops as information sources and trusted purveyors of great food.”
Keweenaw Co-op in Hancock, Mich., started in 1973 as a pre-order bulk-buying club that operated out of the back room of a restaurant. Responding to a lack of availability of natural and organic foods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, the co-op grew quickly into a full-service grocery store and now owns its current building.
Littleton Food Co-op in Littleton, N.H., opened in 2009, the result of a community movement to bring a cooperative food store to this area on the Vermont/New Hampshire border. The co-op offers a diverse product mix to serve the needs of its entire community as well as surrounding towns. Annual sales are $8 million.
Willimantic Food Co-op in Willimantic, Conn., grew out of a buying club in the 1970s and moved to its current location in 2005 near the historic downtown district. The co-op offers a full line of grocery items, and serves nearly 7,500 members.
Astoria Cooperative in Astoria, Ore., founded in 1974, is the North Coast’s only full-service organic grocery store. With 1,500 active members and counting, the co-op’s mission is to build community through food. Astoria first joined NCGA as an associate co-op in 2012.
Previously an NCGA associate co-op, Philadelphia’s Mariposa Co-op opened 40 years ago and recently purchased a new building to accommodate its rapid expansion. Their recent relocation and renovation received a number of community awards and continues to contribute to the co-op’s successful sales and membership growth.
New Associate Co-ops
With a strong membership committed to wholesome foods and the cooperative spirit, St. Paul, Minn.-based Hampden Park Co-op has been part of the Twin Cities community since 1973. Among its two thousand active members are 350 volunteer members. Sales are $2.3 million.
Founded in 2005, Reno, Nev.’s Great Basin Community Food Co-op recently relocated to a store almost six times as large as its original location. The co-op offers fresh organic and local produce, gourmet and everyday groceries, bulk items, beer and wine, and a wellness department, among other specialties. Today, it serves 4,000 active members and is the first Nevada co-op to join NCGA.
Natural Harvest in Virginia, Minn., started as a buying club in 1976 and has been operating a storefront on Bailey’s Lake in this northern Minnesota community since 1979. The co-op moved to its current location in 1996 and offers a full line of natural and organic foods to owners and the public.