Our Consultants

Ben Sandel



Harrisonburg, Virginia


(540) 421-6976


Leadership Development, Startup Co-ops, Capitalization

Profile Video

  • Profile Overview

  • Articles from CDS Consulting publications

  • Articles in Cooperative Grocer

  • Other works by Ben Sandel

Profile Overview arrow

  • Profile Overview arrow
  • Profile Overview
  • Articles from CDS Consulting publications
  • Articles in Cooperative Grocer or other publications
  • Other works by Ben Sandel

Ben Sandel has over 25 years of sales, service and management experience in technology and retail business, and is enthusiastic about working with organizations that benefit local communities.

He thinks gathering places that offer a “third place” away from home and work can be central to democracy and neighborhood vitality. “That third place concept really resonates with me,” Ben said.

That’s why he has been an active member of consumer co-ops wherever he has lived, and was instrumental in organizing the Harrisonburg community to open the Friendly City Food Co-op in 2011. Ben led the board of directors from the co-op’s inception to its opening, through incorporation, raising $1.5 million in financing, gaining over 1,200 members and hiring a general manager. Ben is currently working with startups and established co-ops on governance as well as capitalization and financing for their projects.

Ben understands first-hand what groups need to help them realize their goals, and how planning is crucial. “The needs of startups especially are so varied,” Ben said. “The most important thing is to stay focused.” Ben assists co-ops with building community support, growing organizational capacity, and pre-opening preparation to ensure success after a project’s completion. “I learned what works through all the stages. I’m looking forward to useing my skillset and experience to help other co-ops have the best chance possible,” he said.

Ben’s services include:

• Board leadership training and support
• Capitalization and financing support
• Support for Startup Food Co-ops
• Retreat planning and facilitation
• Governance workshops and training
• Board resource development

“ Ben was instrumental in the creation, organization, fundraising and success of our start-up food co-op. He has experience with a variety of different co-ops around the country, and brings the best of those to each project. We can truly say that our co-op would likely not be as well positioned as we are, nearly one year after opening, without the help, guidance and support of Ben Sandel. ”

Steve Cooke, General Manager, Friendly City Food Co-op, Harrisonburg, Va.