Start a Co-op

The food co-op movement is growing!

There are a significant number of food co-ops with mature business practices and experienced board and management leaders making profound impacts on their respective communities. That success, along with other social and economic forces, has created a greater awareness and desire amongst communities around the country to have their own food co-ops. There are over 300 communities around the country in various stages of organizing a food co-op.

CDS Consulting Co-op supports the Four Cornerstones in Three Stages development model for start-up food co-ops. Our services can be used to strengthen the four cornerstones (Vision, Capital, Talent and Systems) in each of the 3 stages (Organizing, Feasibility and Planning, and Implementation). While many of these services can be helpful in any of the stages, we have organized them here by when they are most commonly used.

Food Co-op Initiative exists to build and maintain a support system that enables a faster and more effective start-up process, resulting in new cooperative food stores successfully serving their communities. FCI was originally formed as the Food Co-op 500 program in August 2005 as a collaborative effort of CDSNCB, NCB Capital Impact, and National Co+op Grocers with substantial support from the Blooming Prairie Foundation.

Continuum of Care – Different organizations can support startup co-ops depending on the stage of the development process and the size of the planned store. This quick reference guide will help you navigate these support options.

Associated Consultants

Ben Sandel

Leadership Development, Startup Co-ops, Capitalization

Debbie Suassuna

Market/Location Analysis, Real Estate/Expansion Analysis, Consumer Research

Garland McQueen

Operational and Financial Improvement, Interim Management Solutions

Leslie Watson

Board Leadership Development

Mel Braverman

Operational and Financial Improvement