your local co-op

My first job was at a co-op. I had… um, gotten into… um… a little trouble as a teen and was referred to the co-op by my counselor at the Holton Youth Center in Milwaukee. Outpost Natural Foods hired me at fifteen years old with zero work experience, a nose piercing, dark lip-liner and baggy jeans. They were a godsend. After two years as a cashier and customer service representative helping to sign shoppers up to become owners of the co-op I had tons of confidence and a knack for fighting off colds with homeopathic remedies.

More recently, and without dark lip-liner, I’ve taken to visiting The Riverwest Co-op on my visits to Milwaukee. Their motto? Food for People, Not For Profit. Housed in a tiny storefront, packed to the brim with foodstuffs, produce and even a cafe, it’s something I’ve wished for in Chicago for years.

Looks like I got my wish with the recently opened Dill Pickle Co-op.

While the price points were more comprabable to Whole Foods than Trader Joe’s and their membership program is a little more expensive that I would like, Dill Pickle is definitely providing a good service. It is unfortunate that a community owned grocery store’s prices must be so much higher than those of large corporations; makes it hard for even a middle-class family to shop there these days. Still, the cost for bulk items is reasonable and once the growing pains are done, we may be able to see some of the prices come down.

Does your neighborhood have a co-op? Where is it? Worth the visit?

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4 responses to “your local co-op

  1. Great photos – especially the first one, lol!

    Honestly, I’m glad that we went there that day. I’ve since been back for some of that artisan bread that we three devoured.

    I think that this place while great is for the truly ‘granola’ types and I’ve not reached that plateau yet. I’m definitely in love with Trader Joe’s and their prices and Whole Foods for their personal items that TJ’s doesn’t provide.

    I think that I’ll frequent this place a bit more if I get my tastes to catch up with their offerings.

  2. Santa Monica, CA has a really good one that’s been there for years: http://www.coopportunity.com/#
    I joined last year.

    Though in all honesty, I go to Trader Joes and Whole Foods more often. For a short time I was a part of a CSA program, which I LOVED. It motivated me to grow my own veggies. Wish me luck on my first harvest.

  3. Awww…you just made me nostalgic for the old days of Outpost. You were still a good kid, troubles and all. I remember when you started and 3 regular customers and Jeff from mainteance, all in the same day referred to you as my sister, I was like, WHO are these people talking about?” Well it must be an Irish-Indian thing…ha.
    Nice article!

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