“Creativity, hard-work, and generosity”
Our Co-op was one of the many food co-ops begun in the 1970s that gave birth to and nurtured the market for natural food. Like most other consumer food co-ops, the Community Food Co-op began literally with nothing but the energy of the people involved. For the first six months, the Co-op operated as a food buying club, with the support of Puget Consumers Co-op in Seattle—itself a small co-op in those days. 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 offered just eight items: cornmeal, bread, honey, flour, rolled wheat, rice, wheat germ, and granola. By 1982 the Co-op had outgrown its 900 square-foot store in Fairhaven and moved to a 5,000 square-foot space 1059 N. State St closer to downtown. Shortly thereafter member-volunteer labor was dropped in favor of an all-paid staff. Interest in natural foods really took off in the mid-1980s spurring rapid growth for the Co-op. As more natural and organic products became available, the Co-op was also evolving from a natural and organic specialty store toward a full-service natural food grocery store. A small deli was added in the late 1980s as well as wine, beer, and seafood. During the 12 years on State St., membership rose from 200 to about 2,500. In 1994, the Co-op moved again, this time to a 15,000 square-foot building at the corner of Forest and Holly streets in downtown Bellingham. The much larger space allowed the Co-op to expand its produce department, add hundreds more grocery items, install a meat department, and offer a full-service deli—truly becoming a full-service natural food grocery store for the first time. In 2010 the Co-op celebrated its 40th anniversary. Creativity, hard work, and generosity have made it what it is. The world has changed a lot during the forty years we’ve been around. One thing hasn’t changed, however. That is the beauty of the concept: cooperation, mutual respect, good food, and a work based on people, not profit. Our Co-op and the food co-op movement have been a powerful part of the positive change of the last 40 years. With a little luck and more hard work we’ll keep doing it for the next 40.
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Community Food Co-op Cafe
- Mon: 10:00 am - 7:00 pm
- Sun, Wed - Sat: 2:00 am - 3:00 am
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