Market Research

Using Marketing to Build Success: Making Cooperative Ownership and Governance Real

By Rebecca Torpie, Thane Joyal 196 May-June 2018 What does it mean to be an owner of a consumer cooperative? At the most fundamental level, cooperative ownership means that we are in business together. And for the owners of a cooperative that is under substantial market pressure (and what business isn’t?), everything [...]

Scenario Planning: Organizing Your Blue Sky Thinking

By Joel Kopischke 195 March-April 2018 What does the future hold? That question has intrigued humankind for ages, and many great minds have done their best to imagine the world yet to come. Jules Verne, George Orwell, and David Bowie approached the issue in ways that entertained and informed the [...]

Telling the Board Story Through the Co-op Marketing Department

By Rebecca Torpie 190 May-June 2017 Co-op boards and marketing teams can be like two ships passing in the night. Chances are they’ve crossed paths during election season and annual meeting planning, but contact beyond that can be very limited. At many co-ops, neither the board nor the marketing team truly [...]

Strategic Alliances and Consolidations: Exploring cooperation among cooperatives

By Art Sherwood 186 Sept-Oct 2016 New competition. Shrinking margins. Tighter supply. Rising labor costs. Saturated advertising. Poaching of great employees. Competing in the natural- foods market place is just plain hard. As the market’s “new normal” intensifies with the rush of conventional retail players and new competition into our [...]

Are You Ready to Compete? A crowded marketplace is the new reality

By Mel Braverman, Nicole Klimek, Jeanie Wells 184 May-June 2016 In the back of our minds we knew that [insert name of competitor here] was coming. It was only a matter of time before grocery chains would notice our happy piece of the natural foods pie. Co-ops are feeling squeezed, [...]

Beefing Up Your Marketing Plan: Making sure yours is still relevant

By Nicole Klimek, Joy Rust 184 May-June 2016 As competition creeps up to #1 on the “food co-op worry list,” many co-ops find themselves wondering how they can combat declining sales while not investing an arm and a leg in store labor and operations. Taking a look at the changing [...]

Analyzing Your Store’s Systems

By Mary Myers, Walden Swanson 042 September - October - 1992 This is the third in a series of articles based on Business Planning For Cooperatives, a manual published by Cooperative Development Services that provides step by step Instructions for writing business plans. This manual is based on the principles [...]

A Near Miss at Mississippi Market

By Carolee Colter 092 January - February - 2001 What went wrong? What lessons can other co-ops contemplating expansion learn from Mississippi Market's experience? By all accounts, Mississippi Market's second store expansion was a disaster. In 1996 when this St. Paul, MN co-op set out to purchase land and build [...]

Getting Started with Expansion Planning

By Bill Gessner 180 Sept-Oct 2015 Expansion projects for food co-ops fall somewhere between a labyrinth and a maze. With continuous improvement and development of best practices, expansion projects are moving closer to the one path of a labyrinth and further away from the messiness of a maze. We invite [...]