Celebrating Our Co-op’s 50th Anniversary
The Co-op Turned 50 in 2020
Celebrate the Community Food Co-op’s 50th Anniversary: 1970–2020
We filmed the video above anticipating a community celebration for our food co-op’s 50th anniversary. Please enjoy a lovely film of our staff and shoppers to commemorate our 50th anniversary. You’ll notice this was shot in early 2020, pre-pandemic.
Celebrating 50 Years of Good Local Food
It’s been an exciting 50-year journey to get where we are today!
Opened March 1970 • volunteer staff • 40 members
For the first six months, the Co-op operated as a food buying club with dedicated volunteers driving to Seattle to pick up bulk goods that were then shared among the buying club members.
The Co-op storefront opened its doors in 1970 in the Good Earth Building in the Fairhaven district with about 40 members. It operated with a volunteer staff and only eight items: cornmeal, bread, honey, flour, rolled wheat, rice, wheat germ, and granola.
Opened November 1982 • 5 paid staff • 40+ volunteer staff
In the first issue of our newsletter, The New Store News, worker coordinator Steve Wilson reported, “The day-to-day functions of the store are managed by 5 (under) paid staff persons, while over 40 people regularly volunteer their labor each week in exchange for a discount on their grocery bill.”
Volunteers worked 3-hour weekly shifts cashiering, packaging dry bulk goods and cheese, cleaning, and doing other miscellaneous tasks.
Opened May 1994 • 70 staff
Upon opening our new flagship store in Downtown Bellingham, we unveiled a new logo that featured a raspberry (or was it a blackberry?) that was commonly mistaken for a bunch of grapes. Staffing needs were double that of the State Street store and we topped 70 paid staff. For the first time, the store offered deli items and espresso. Sales for 1995 (the first full year of operation in the new store) increased more than 60% over the prior year.
Opened January 2009 • 200 staff
After years of member input, planning, and construction, we opened our second store in January 2009. By the end of the year, total sales jumped 20% over the previous year and almost 200 folks were on staff. We hosted many events throughout that first year to get to know our new neighbors on the north side of town and welcome them to the Co-op family: summer barbecues on the patio, art shows in the café, and live music events.
Opened July 2015 • 270 staff
The newest addition to the Co-op family houses our production bakery that supplies fresh baked goods to our stores, the Connections Building classroom, staff offices, and now serves as the curbside pickup location for Downtown store curbside orders.