Our Food Co-op is Opening

by updated 2011/07/27

I was looking back through my old files and could not believe the first owner meeting for the Medford Food Co-op I attended was almost 5 years ago. For many reasons, that 1st effort to open a co-op was not successful. Then, at the meeting to announce the end of that effort, a few owners stood up and announced a refusal to let the dream die.  That meeting was December 3, 2007. Time has really gone by but here we are now, just days away from the opening of our own Co-op!

I have written a few articles about the effort to open the Medford Food Co-op describing the many different people have been part of this effort over the years that I have been involved.  Many of the recent and current board members devoted unbelievable amounts of their time to do what needed to be done. These Board members had specific skills that if any one of them had not been involved, we may not be here today.

Several months ago the Board of Directors hit a home run when they hired a General Manager for the store. Some owner/members thought it was a bit early, but without the skills and enthusiasm he brought to the final stages of the start-up process,  I don’t think we would be where we are right now. With his proven track record running a successful local business, the Co-op is in great managerial hands as it now makes the transition to a thriving co-operative store.

Take a look at our website and enjoy our success vicariously! If you are ever driving Interstate 5 through Southern Oregon, you can make a very short detour to visit the store.

I know for many of you that live in larger cities or communities where you have had a food co-op for a long time, this excitement may seem a bit silly. But many of us put a lot of our lives into this effort and to see The Medford Food Co-op finally opening is very exciting!

Will Sig
1 Linda

Very exciting Will! I am looking forward to checking it out when I come to Medford next. I know this has been a lot of effort on your part, as well as from others. Thankfully you are all persistent and held on to the vision. I am guessing it will stock lots of local produce. What about local grass fed meats or pastured poultry/eggs? Wishing you great success!
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2 Will

Yes Linda, very exciting. And yes they plan to have all of that and more. The only thing they won’t have is a full service deli, at least at the start. Hopefully there will be enough business so that will eventually come. After all this work to get it open, now time to start worrying about getting lots and lots of customers. Especially since my son Kyler just decided to go to work there. He has been working for Winco for the past 1-1/2 years, NIGHTS! He is ready to get off that schedule.

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3 Linda

I am thinking cooking demos and nutrition talks would help spread the word. Whole Foods uses that kind of thing and it brings in people. I forwarded the link to friends in Jacksonville. Looking forward to a visit. Great news for Kyler.
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4 Jan

Hey Will
That’s very exciting for you, well done and good for you for not giving up on your dream. Living in Brisbane we don’t have food co-ops but there are a lot of farmer’s markets springing up and a local market on Sunday mornings where you can buy product straight from the farmers. The honey man has been going to the market for 20 years! So enjoy!!

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5 Binky

I guess I don’t really understand a co-op. What are the advantages? Better prices? Better selection?
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6 Will

Here are a few links that explain. The first link is a video done by The Park Slope Co-op, one of the oldest in the U.S. The video is one of the best descriptions I have seen. Some co-ops require owners to work a certain amount of time each year. Although all of the preliminary work to open our coop was done by volunteers, now that the store is opening, there is not an annual owner work requirement. This co-op has a full time general manager, assistant managers, and an experienced, trained, staff.

http://video.about.com/localfoods/Visit-a-Food-Co-Op.htm
http://carbondalecommunityfoodcoop.org/what_is_a_coop.html
http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-food-co-op.htm

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7 Binky

Okay, I understand now. Thanks for the links.
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8 Anna

Will good for you. I am not 100% sure, but I don’t think we have anything like that close to home. Well if ever I make it your way, I will sure stop by, lol. Anna :)
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9 Anne

Congratulations and best of luck!

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10 Clark Minn

This is very exciting and I hope you can be successful for this Will…This can serve as an inspiration for all bloggers too…

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11 morijude

Good to hear that you have a group who are unselfish and ready to make your co-op progress. There is not much cooperatives that thrive after 6 months since everybody has the say .
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12 Annie

So happy for you and your co-op. I founded and ran a small co-op in Tn for a few years. It was great and yet we needed more co-operation from the members. Sounds like you have put a lot of time into organizing and planning this a great thing.

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