Summer at the Co-op

The Chequamegon Food Co-op is a member-owned corporation in Ashland, Wisconsin. With over 3,000 member-owners, the Co-op leverages its relationship with National Cooperative Grocers and many local vendors to stock our 6,000 square-foot store.

Our Story

The Chequamegon Food Co-op originally started as a buying club for people in the Chequamegon Bay area who wanted to purchase wholesome food in bulk.  The success and growth of the club led to the idea of providing the greater community with education about and access to good food.

The Chequamegon Food Co-op was incorporated in 1976, the same year the Co-op’s first storefront opened in Ashland.  The store was run entirely on member labor for the first five years. A variety of jobs included making trips to a Madison warehouse for products, baking whole grain bread, running the cash register, and creating and printing a newsletter.

After four moves and the hiring of a part-time manager, the Co-op settled at 215 Chapple Ave in 1986.  The store began to show a profit in 1990. Growing interest in the organic and natural foods market allowed two major renovations of the store: in 1994 and in 2001. In 2001 the Co-op purchased 213 Chapple Avenue and doubled in size. Scanning registers replaced old technology in 2003. In 2011, the Co-op purchased 700 West Main Street with plans to open an expanded store in the future. The new store opened there in the fall of 2014.

Our current 6,000 square foot grocery remains a leader in local, organic, ethical, and healthy foods. We offer a small deli, sizable fresh produce department, variety of bulk items, comprehensive wellness department, community classes, and both a micro-loan and “chip-up” to promote our local economy.

The original intent to sell wholesome food and create a community required many hands, hearts, and minds.  We are grateful to those founding members for their efforts.

Mission Statement

The Chequamegon Food Co-op is dedicated to providing ecologically sound foods and products, the production and quality of which promote the health of our members and our community.

The Chequamegon Food Co-op strives to:

  • Offer exceptional customer service
  • Provide a fair and equitable work environment
  • Promote local, sustainable food production
  • Conduct a financially-sound business

The Cooperative Principles

  1. Voluntary and Open Membership
  2. Democratic Member Control
  3. Member Economic Participation
  4. Autonomy and Independence
  5. Education, Training, and Information
  6. Cooperation Among Cooperatives
  7. Concern for Community

Ends Statement

Chequamegon Food Co-op exists to be a core participant in the healthy local food network, where:

  1. Consumers have access to a wide variety of locally produced products
  2. Support is provided to individuals, co-ops, and other local groups in the production of healthful goods in our community.
  3. Members take pride in their co-op
  4. Chequamegon Food Co-op is a leader in the fair treatment of workers
  5. Knowledge is shared regarding healthful living choices
  6. Our environment is considered in all actions

Our goal is to continue to expand our local food economy and healthful food availability to our community.  

What is an Ends Statement?

An ends statement defines organizational purpose, telling a story of what results affect people for a specific benefit.  Ends statements justify the existence of an organization.

Strategic Plan

In 2022 we prepped a new strategic five-year plan to guide our store.

View it here.