Thinking Strategically

Co-ops at a Crossroads: A Co-op Security Case Study

By Michael Feiner, Paul Feiner 194 Jan.-Feb. 2018 Retail grocery co-ops are as quintessential Vermont as the brilliant colors of our fall foliage, the hallmark herd of Holsteins on the pasture, or the one-room schoolhouse at the crossroads of two backcountry roads. In fact, it’s said that Vermont boasts the most food [...]

Making Smarter Strategic Decisions through Board Engagement with Owners

When boards and management make decisions with the long game of co-op impact in mind, a powerful relationship with owners can develop. Strategic decision-making can be an opportunity to build a strong, participatory co-op culture that understands that the leadership is obliged, by virtue of its fiduciary responsibility, to make [...]

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 [...]

Boycotts and Democracy – The Eden Foods Product Boycott as an Opportunity to Renew Co-op Participation and Democracy

By Todd Wallace In the summer of 2014, a Supreme Court ruling in the case of Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby led the CEO of Eden Foods, a prominent organic foods producer, to revive an earlier 2013 court case arguing that the company be exempted from paying for its employees to [...]

Reinventing our Cooperative Democracy: A Conversation

By Art Sherwood, Todd Wallace 175 November-December 2014 In 2013, the International Cooperative Alliance, in its “Blueprint for a Cooperative Decade,” identified the elevating of participation as a key component of its 2020 Vision for more and stronger cooperatives. The “Blueprint” states that, “Democratic member participation is the best-known feature [...]

The Growth Roadway

By Art Sherwood 163 November-December 2012 Expansion and growth are on the minds of many cooperative board and management leaders. And this makes sense, since growing our cooperatives’ abilities to deliver on their organizational Ends is of critical strategic importance. It certainly was on our minds at Bloomingfoods Co-op (Bloomington, [...]

Writing Ends Policies

Where we are headed matters. If we don’t know where we are going any road will do. A primary responsibility of a board is to define the reason for the organization’s existence.  What are we here for?  What should be different because we exist? For whom? For a board that [...]

Measuring Ends, Telling Our Story

By Michael Healy 159 March - April - 2012 Why does the work of measuring the co-op's accomplishments and telling the co-op's story matter? Cooperative enterprises build a better world. This tagline for the 2012 International Year of Cooperatives says so much with so few words. These few words can [...]