Menomonie Market Providing Services to Just Local Food Co-op
In the years since our expansion in 2015, Menomonie Market Food Co-op has been able to realize our Ends in a number of ways. A bigger building with higher sales means more support of our amazing local vendors. Improving food access with our Double Dollars program and getting capital to small local farms in the form of grants has helped us strengthen our local food system, and improved wages and benefits at the co-op have added sustainability and dignity to the jobs we offer.
Recently, the Menomonie Market Board of Directors has been working to create a strategic vision for our next steps as a cooperative to answer the question: beyond our new building and expanded offerings, how do we take the next steps with our Ends? Part of our Ends is about supporting the co-op model, and reaching out to our close co-op neighbors has always been important. In mid 2019, the board officially instructed Crystal, our General Manager, to explore potential for greater cooperative collaboration in the Chippewa Valley.
We have some exciting news to share! As of April 1st, we have entered into an agreement with our sister co-op in Eau Claire, Just Local Food Co-op, to provide administrative and management services. Crystal Halvorson has been named Interim General Manager at Just Local Food Co-op and will take this on in addition to her GM duties with us. Crystal and other staff from Menomonie Market are now providing the administrative suite of services to Just Local Food Co-op that any successful small business needs. This expression of the Sixth Co-op Principle, cooperation among cooperatives, has the potential to strengthen both food co-ops in the Chippewa Valley.
Our two co-ops have a long history together. We have many owners in common, and we have shared advice, connections, ideas, and resources throughout the last 15 years. Crystal is a founding member of Just Local Food Co-op, and she worked for both co-ops from 2004-2007.
While we will be sharing services, each co-op remains an entirely separate, independent cooperative business.
The Boards have signed an agreement for these services through the end of December 2020. In the meantime, the two Boards will use time and resources to pursue the possibilities of consolidation of operations in some form. If you have questions regarding this collaboration, please reach out to Crystal via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are thrilled to be collaborating with our fellow cooperators in Eau Claire. We can’t wait to see what new ideas, connections, and relationships come about as a result of our work together!