First Alaskan Co-op Wins 2014 Startup of the Year

Published June 14, 2014 by Food Co-op Initiative

We are delighted to announce that Co-op Market Grocery & Deli in Fairbanks, AK is the winner of this year’s Startup of the Year award. Lauded for its leadership, retail excellence, and commitment to building the local economy, Co-op Market beat out twelve other co-ops that opened storefronts since June of 2013. The Startup the […]

Sugar Beet Co-op Named 2018 Startup of the Year

Published June 21, 2018 by Food Co-op Initiative

Food Co-op Initiative announced that  Sugar Beet Food Co-op in Oak Park, IL is the recipient of their annual Startup of the Year award. Food Co‐op Initiative created the Startup of the Year Award to recognize the heroic efforts made by new co‐ops to open stores in their communities. The Sugar Beet Co-op opened in […]

Renaissance Community Co-op Named 2016 Startup of the Year

Published June 22, 2016 by Food Co-op Initiative

The crowd gathered at the CCMA conference in early June gave a standing ovation to the Renaissance Community Co-op (RCC) board, staff, and consultants as they accepted the 2016 Startup Award of the Year from Stuart Reid of Food Co-op Initiative.  “This startup has captured our food co-op community’s attention and imagination in unique ways over the […]

East Aurora Co-op Market Named 2017 Startup of the Year

Published June 15, 2017 by Food Co-op Initiative

Food Co-op Initiative is proud to announce that the East Aurora Co-op Market in East Aurora, NY,  is the recipient of our “Startup of the Year” award for 2017. This award recognizes new food co-ops that have done an outstanding job of organizing their communities, building ownership, and following strong, viable business plans. Providing fresh […]

2013 Startup of the Year Award Announced

Published May 23, 2013 by Food Co-op Initiative

Food Co-op Initiative is proud to announce our first Startup Co-op of the Year award. This award recognizes excellence in leadership, strength of community support, and use of the 4 Cornerstone in 3 Stages development model to successfully open a retail food cooperative. Monadnock Food Co-op is a role model for how an organized community […]

Capital Campaigns: One Co-op Opts for Direct Public Offering, part 2

Published September 14, 2016 by Food Co-op Initiative

By Philip Trevvett, of Urban Greens Food Co-op in Rhode Island Read Part 1 of this series HERE, and check out the following Q & A here. Food Co-op Initiative staff understands that a capital campaign can be one of the most stressful yet rewarding activities a startup undertakes. We offer many resources for startups planning a campaign, but in the […]

Capital Campaigns: One Co-op Opts for Direct Public Offering, part 1

Published September 12, 2016 by Food Co-op Initiative

By Philip Trevvett, of Urban Greens Food Co-op in Rhode Island Food Co-op Initiative staff understands that a capital campaign can be one of the most stressful yet rewarding activities a startup undertakes. We offer many resources for startups planning a campaign, but in the last few years we have seen increased interest in the direct public offering (DPO) of shares. Our Resource Library is full of great info on running a successful owner-loan […]

Durham Co-op Market Named 2015 Startup of the Year

Published June 12, 2015 by Food Co-op Initiative

At the 2015 CCMA conference in Boise, Idaho, June 11-13, Food Co-op Initiative was excited to present the award for 2015 Startup of the Year to Durham Co-op Market (DCM). This award is given to a startup that opened in the last twelve months, after showing careful planning, persistence, and and the skill to bring […]

Ownership Growth: A Numbers Game

Published February 14, 2018 by Food Co-op Initiative

By Katie Novak Katie Novak served as Outreach Manager and Owner Loan Campaign Manager for Green Top Grocery in Bloomington, IL during their startup years. She was integral in bringing the Green Top Grocery Case Study on owner loan campaigns to the FCI website.  Before there was a loan campaign, there was the ownership drive, […]

5 Reasons Your Domain Should Be .coop from the beginning

Published August 5, 2016 by Food Co-op Initiative

Thomas Bowen loved startup co-ops. True, he loved all co-ops, but the energy and enthusiasm of startup groups brought a big smile to his face.  Thomas was the director of member relations for National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA, and wanted to see every new retail food co-op succeed as part of the greater cooperative community. Thomas’s role working with membership has […]

Growing Pains: The GM Transition

Published June 11, 2016 by Food Co-op Initiative

By Heather Avella of Manchester Food Co-op The staff at FCI knows that the path to opening a new retail food co-op is rarely a straight line. The potholes and unexpected turns can really shake up even the best startup team. We love to share stories of these Growing Pains, and how startups have overcome […]

Great Events: FED Talks

Published May 2, 2016 by Food Co-op Initiative

by Carol Rauschenberger of Shared Harvest The staff at FCI loves hearing about the great events that startup co-ops offer. They build membership, teach people about co-ops, and bring the communities together over food, and local food systems. FCI wants to share some of these with you in our blog stories on Great Events. Shared […]

USDA Announces New Local Food Promotion Program Grants

Published March 11, 2018 by Food Co-op Initiative

Often the criteria for the Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP) grant from the USDA shift a bit from year to year. FCI is always watching for the criteria release around this time so we can read it over and let you all know if start up food co-ops seem to fit the desired program criteria. […]

Love Those Lawn Signs!

Published January 25, 2018 by Food Co-op Initiative

Lawn signs are a great tool for boosting community awareness that your new co-op is coming to town. FCI encourages you to make these a free item that is given to each new owner/member. As the signs spread throughout your community, the conversation will grow as well. This is one marketing tool  that works well. […]

Market Studies for Small Communities

Published December 31, 2013 by Food Co-op Initiative

Here’s a question we recently received: We are starting a co-op grocery store here in Small Town, CO.  Small Town has a population of just over 5000 and a busy tourist trade but no fresh food access. The community is very supportive of the idea of a food co-op. Your materials talk about hundreds of […]

Workshops for Startups at CCMA 2013

Published March 29, 2013 by Food Co-op Initiative

A draft schedule of startup-focused workshops to be offered at this year’s Consumer Cooperative Management Association conference has been released. As in past years, Food Co-op Initiative curates this track of workshops to ensure maximum benefit to emerging co-ops. CCMA, to be held June 6-8 in Austin, TX, is the food co-op industry’s premier event. […]

FCI Announces New Urban Initiative

Published June 7, 2017 by Food Co-op Initiative

Capital Impact Partners and Blooming Prairie Foundation grants will enable FCI to create new research and pilot projects in low-income urban food deserts. Food Co-op Initiative (FCI)  thanks Capital Impact Partners for awarding us their 2017 Innovation grant, to support our new initiative in urban, low-income areas that have become food deserts. The Blooming Prairie […]

2017 Up & Coming food co-op conference

Published December 5, 2016 by Food Co-op Initiative

MARK YOUR CALENDARS! Registration in now open for the 2017 Up & Coming food co-op conference, to be held in Milwaukee, WI on March 10-11, 2017 (with selected pre-conference workshops on March 9.)  Last year we were pleased to have representatives from 64 startup co-ops, and an army of supportive consultants and trainers.  Do not […]

Capital Campaigns: One Co-op Opts for Direct Public Offering, Q & A

Published November 18, 2016 by Food Co-op Initiative

By Philip Trevvett, of Urban Greens Food Co-op in Rhode Island When we published the two-part piece One Co-op Opts for Direct Public Offering, our readers had questions. Philip takes the time to answer them here. Part 1 centered on Planning and Implementing their DPO campaign, and Part 2 on Lessons Learned and Next Steps. Food Co-op […]

Up & Coming food co-op conference Registration is Open

Published January 22, 2018 by Food Co-op Initiative

Up & Coming 2018 is sure to be our best startup gathering yet. Mark your calendar for March 16-17, 2018, with March 15 an optional day for tours and workshops. This is THE EVENT of the year for all retail food co-op startups. We encourage you to bring as many organizers as possible so you can fully participate […]

Up & Coming LOVE

Published February 10, 2017 by Food Co-op Initiative

By Michelle Engelman Berns of Long Beach Grocery Co-op in California  A Valentine for Up & Coming food co-op conference  “Up and Coming gave me the first hand glimpse into the heart of a co-op; which is its people.”  My history with co-ops, up to my move to Long Beach 3 years ago, was as an owner/member […]

Growing Pains: What’s in a Name?

Published July 15, 2016 by Food Co-op Initiative

“No, no . . . it’s going to be a store!“ By Siobain Mitchell of (the newly re-named) Assabet Village Co-op Market The staff at FCI knows that the path to opening a new retail food co-op is rarely a straight line. The potholes and unexpected turns can really shake up even the best startup team. […]

Helpful Partners: Donated Marketing Rocks!

Published June 20, 2016 by Food Co-op Initiative

By Dennis Rosenblum of Bay City Cooperative   The staff at FCI knows that the path to opening a new retail food co-op is rarely a straight line. The sheer volume of things to do can sometimes overwhelm even the best startup team. We want to share this story of using community business partners to build success, and how […]

For California Co-op Startups

Published December 12, 2017 by Food Co-op Initiative

Save the Date! Join the California Center for Cooperative Development on April 29th and 30th for the 2018 California Co-op Conference. Registration will open in January.Visit the conference site for more information. FCI has presented at this annual event customized for California co-ops for many years. It provides some great local training options for startups […]

Grants Support Food Co-op Development in Low-Income Urban Food Deserts

Published August 26, 2017 by Food Co-op Initiative

Food Co-op Initiative Awards $40,000 as Part of New Program to Address Grocery Gap in Inner Cities Press Release August 25, 2017, Savage, MN Food Co-op Initiative has announced Urban Market Initiative Seed Grant awards of $10,000 each to four groups organizing new food co-ops in urban food deserts. The recipients are: North Flint Food […]

$100,000 in Grants – A Tale of Ten Co-ops – 2013

Published September 10, 2013 by Food Co-op Initiative

Food Co-op Initiative is pleased to announce Seed Grants totaling $100,000 have been awarded to ten communities organizing retail food co-ops across the US, to be matched with equal amounts in local investments. These grants combine a $10,000 cash award with in-kind services from FCI’s experts including technical assistance, on-site training, and continued mentoring. The Initiative […]

FCI’s Impact Report – 10 years strong

Published June 10, 2017 by Food Co-op Initiative

As Food Co-op Initiative passes our 10th anniversary,  we are pleased to present our first Impact Report.  Featuring info on the 130+ new co-ops that opened since our founding, it celebrates the combined impact that these new stores have had on their communities, and the cooperative economy. Moving into the next ten years, we are working with over 100 […]

Structuring member equity

Published May 15, 2012 by Food Co-op Initiative

A start-up food co-op organizer emailed  recently to ask, I’m wondering if you can help me know how co-op members pay their shares in other co-ops? We’re looking at this model: $300 full share purchase $50 annual contribution toward share purchase $12.50 quarterly contribution toward annual contribution toward full share purchase. (Does this seem like […]

QuickStart Board Orientation

Published March 8, 2019 by Stuart Reid

QuickStart was designed for the needs of new startup food co-op board members, to help them get up to speed fast on the basics of what they need to know to be effective. Registrants must be active board members of startup food co-ops that do not yet have their retail grocery store open for business. […]

FCI Grants Build Cooperative Economy – 2012 Seed Grants

Published September 10, 2012 by Food Co-op Initiative

Today Food Co-op Initiative announced grants to ten new cooperative grocery stores. An additional four co-ops will receive scholarships for board and organizer training. All fourteen awardees will bring a focus on local economy, community building, and healthy food options to their communities. Food Co-op Initiative is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to helping communities make […]

Small & Strong Co-op Conference, November 11, 2017

Published September 11, 2017 by Food Co-op Initiative

Startups and Small & Strong open co-ops in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin*  are invited to attend the Third Annual Small and Strong Conference, a one-day networking and training event for board and staff of Upper Midwest food co-ops with sales under $3 million. What:   This year’s theme is Preparing for Change:  Whether your co-op […]

Monadnock Food Co-op: Case Study

Published December 8, 2015 by Food Co-op Initiative

Monadnock Food Co-op in Keene, New Hampshire started organizing  early in 2010, and worked closely with FCI and other co-op consultants to reach their goal of a great food co-op in teh community.  They opened in June 2013  and have become an established resource for Keene.  Bonnie Hudspeth, a foundling member of the Monadnock organizing […]

Great Events: Movie Night

Published April 25, 2014 by Food Co-op Initiative

“Everything I learned I learned from the movies.” ― Audrey Hepburn Hosting a movie night can have many benefits for your startup. Publicising the event will create PR for your project. You can likely raise a small amount of money from admissions and/or sale of concessions. If a social hour is held afterwards, movie night can […]

2015 Seed Grant Awards Announced

Published June 5, 2015 by Food Co-op Initiative

Food Co-op Initiative is excited to announce the award of 12 “Seed Grants” to new retail food co-ops organizing across the United States. “The public interest in food co-ops is at an all-time high,” reports FCI Executive Director Stuart Reid. “By owning and controlling their own cooperative store, communities are able to ensure stable access […]

Advice for Site Selection Committees

Published December 4, 2012 by Food Co-op Initiative

“Our co-op has weathered the trials of stage one organizing and done some initial feasibility work. Now we are forming a site selection committee. Do you have or know of any resources that help define this process and the scope of work that this committee should be looking to achieve?” Forming a site selection committee […]

Featured Project: Monadnock Food Co-op

Published September 10, 2012 by Food Co-op Initiative

“I support Food Co-op Initiative because they supported us.” – Bonnie Hudspeth Monadnock Food Co-op in Keene, New Hampshire will open its doors in the first part of 2013, after a four-year-long journey. Food Co-op Initiative will have been with them every step of the way. “At the very beginning, we were able to educate ourselves about […]

FCI’s Startup Map

Published March 2, 2017 by Food Co-op Initiative

Looking for a coop near you? Check out our Food Co-op Startup Map below: To find food co-ops that are already pen, see Directories of Open Co-ops. At FCI we maintain this map of new retail food co-ops under development in the U.S. Every year we help start-up co-ops across the country and maintain support and track […]

Our History

Published January 26, 2017 by Food Co-op Initiative

Our History of Food Co-op Initiative Food Co-op Initiative began as a pilot project designed to test the theory that new food retail co-ops could open more quickly and successfully if they had appropriate guidance. Launched by a group of visionary co-op supporters in 2005, Food Co-op 500 started out by offering development grants and […]

Development Flowcharts by Stage

Published March 6, 2017 by Food Co-op Initiative

Introduction to the 4 in 3 Model Contained in this co-op organizing guide is a graphical guide to the organizing process, utilizing the Four Cornerstones in Three Stages model, also known as the “4 in 3 model”. Development Flowchart, Organizing Stage   (pdf, includes links) Development Flowchart, Feasibility   (pdf, includes links) Development Flowchart, Implementation  (pdf, includes links) Wall-sized […]

Using FCI’s New Website

Published February 28, 2017 by Food Co-op Initiative

New for March 2017, the Food Co-op Initiative website has been completely revamped and reorganized. The Home page has links that take you to our most-used or most time-sensitive items, as well as the bones of FCI—our resources. Pop-ups? Yes – but just once! When you click on a few selected items for the first time, like The FCI […]

Media and Press Info

Published January 26, 2017 by Food Co-op Initiative

Food Co-op Initiative (FCI) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit created by the greater food c-op community to assist new startup good co-ops across the United States. Our resources, consultation, and services are free. We partner with other organizations to move new co-ops towards opening their own store. Startup food co-ops come in many forms. We work with […]

Our Impact

Published February 1, 2017 by Food Co-op Initiative

Making a Difference – Over 11 Years of Impact As of May 2018, Food Co-op Initiative has seen 154 new retail food co-ops open in the U.S., with over 72% of those still in business. Every store is unique, but they all share a belief in the Seven Cooperative Principles, and the pride that community […]

FAQ

Published January 18, 2017 by Food Co-op Initiative

What are co-ops all about, anyway? We want to start a food co-op. What should we do first? Will a food co-op work in MY town? What do you charge for your services? What are top mistakes organizers make that lead to setbacks or even store closure? When should we incorporate? How soon can we […]