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    SPINS and National Cooperative Grocers Association Expand Partnership

    SCHAUMBURG, Ill. -- SPINS, a leading information and service provider for the natural products industry based here, said yesterday it has expanded its partnership with the National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA).

    SCHAUMBURG, Ill. -- SPINS, a leading information and service provider for the natural products industry based here, said yesterday it has expanded its partnership with the National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA).

    Iowa City, Iowa-based NCGA is a business services cooperative owned by 108 independent retail food co-ops operating more than 130 stores across the U.S. With combined annual sales of greater than $800 million and average sales growth of more than 15 percent in the past year, NCGA claims to be the third largest retail operator in the natural channel, after Whole Foods and Wild Oats.

    Under the new five-year agreement, NCGA member stores will move to census data in SPINSscan Natural, SPINS' proprietary retail measurement service for the natural supermarket channel. SPINS will launch a specific key account service that provides category, brand, and item performance through the chain.

    Robynn Shrader, NCGA's c.e.o., said the this long-term partnership with SPINS, will help the coop "gain valuable access and insight" into store performance, the natural channel, and consumers.

    In related news, NCGA said yesterday it has gained two new members: Hungry Hollow Co-op in Chestnut Ridge, N.Y. and Rising Tide Community Market in Damariscotta, Maine.

    Said Shrader, "Natural food cooperatives are vital and thriving in their communities across the United States, and they are joining other co-ops to create a more powerful voice in the natural and organic food marketplace."

    Founded in 1978, Rising Tide Community Market is committed to providing local, natural, and organic food to the mid-coast community. The co-op's grocery department provides a full line of products, many produced in Maine. Its produce section is 100 percent organic, in-season, and has a wide variety of locally grown items from small area farms. Rising Tide also is the largest supplier of vitamins, supplements, and homeopathics in Lincoln County, where the co-op resides.

    Hungry Hollow Co-op started as a buying club in 1973 by a group of parents associated with the Green Meadow Waldorf School. Their mission was to work cooperatively to provide the healthiest food available at the lowest possible price. The co-op remains committed to this mission, selling biodynamic and organic produce and environmentally sound household products, and supporting community-based activities.

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