Today, Inc. Magazine released its 2012 500/5000 List of fastest growing private companies in America. National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA) – a business services cooperative representing 128 food co-ops nationwide – made the list at 3,830, and long-time association member Seward Co-op Grocery & Deli was listed at 2,379.
“We’re proud that the success and growth of our member co-ops has earned NCGA a spot among thriving businesses in the U.S.,” said Robynn Shrader, chief executive officer for NCGA. “This recognition reinforces the idea that cooperatives, which operate based on a unique business model, are strong, robust and able to make significant positive contributions to their communities, while competing head to head with conventional businesses,” Shrader continued.
Inc.’s announcement comes just weeks after NCGA released Healthy Foods Healthy Communities: The Social and Economic Impacts of Food Co-ops, a quantitative study comparing the benefits and contributions of food co-ops to those of conventional grocery stores. The study – which demonstrates that co-ops generate 1.5 times more local economic activity than their conventional counterparts – confirms that businesses can do well while doing good and that food co-ops, in particular, make a difference.
Unlike a traditional private business, food co-ops are owned and governed by member-shoppers and rooted in principles like community, voluntary and open membership, economic participation and cooperation. Collectively, NCGA member co-ops operate 165 stores and generate more than $1.4 billion in annual revenue.
Seward Co-op Grocery & Deli is an NCGA-member store located in Minneapolis, Minn. In 2009, Seward Co-op expanded into a new location and created nearly 100 new jobs. Growing membership from 4,700 to 10,000 in the past three years, the co-op’s sales topped $27 million this past fiscal year – a 64% increase over its 2009 sales.
“Our co-op has seen a lot of support from our members and community over the years,” said Sean Doyle, general manager for Seward Co-op, “As we celebrate our 40th anniversary this year, we look forward to continuing to grow and sustain a healthy community, and we’re excited that Inc. has recognized our success, giving us even more to celebrate.”