A Tale of Two Co-ops

Brent Finnegan -- July 17th, 2010

Why have the Friendly City Food Co-Op’s fundraising efforts flourished in Harrisonburg, while plans for a co-op in Staunton fizzled? Rebecca Martinez writes in the Staunton News Leader about this case study in local economics and community organizing.

In 2006, groups in both Harrisonburg and Staunton began planning their own member-owned downtown grocery stores that would sell locally grown produce and organic health food items, and would offer discounts and, potentially, owner rebates depending on the store’s success. A market researcher determined that both cities had a potentially viable customer base.

Each group hosted social events — such as parties and film screenings — to entice members to buy a share of their co-op, thus providing up-front capital to get the business started. It was a years-long fundraising process, with each group writing grant proposals and recruiting members and donors . . .

While the Harrisonburg store is selecting floor layouts, Staunton’s plans have long since come to a halt. (read more)

Tags: , ,

2 Responses to “A Tale of Two Co-ops”

  1. seth says:

    cheers to the board and volunteers who have made our coop a reality!

  2. Suzi says:

    Thanks for covering this, hburgnews. From an organizational perspective, the support and resources other cooperatives have shared with us have been critical to our success (not to mention, the thousands of volunteer hours!). The Friendly City Food Co-op is excited for the opportunity to support other start-ups and can’t wait to see more grocery co-ops popping up all over the Valley in the years to come!

Reader Tweets

Latest Flickr photos in the hburgnews Flickr pool
Announcements & Press Releases
  • Friendly City Grand Opening Set for July 9

    Friendly City Food Co-Op, Harrisonburg’s consumer-owned grocery, invites the community to come see its new destination for natural, organic and locally-produced products at the store’s grand opening 11 a.m.-5 p.m. July 9 at 150 East Wolfe Street.

  • Friendly City Becomes Member of National Cooperative Grocers Association

    HARRISONBURG, VA — Friendly City Food Co-op, slated to open this month in Harrisonburg, Va., has become the newest member of the National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA), a business services cooperative serving 120 consumer-owned food co-ops nationwide.

  • Harrisonburg Recognized as a Bike Friendly Community

    May 2: Harrisonburg was honored when the League of American Bicyclists announced the latest round of Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) designations over the weekend to kick off May as National Bike Month.