We’re Nominated for Retailer of the Year!

We’re Nominated for Retailer of the Year!

Big news! Chequamegon Food Co-op has been nominated for a Retailer of the Year award by New Hope Network for its micro-loan, Produce Promises and CHIP for Change programs. New Hope Network is a consulting firm for the healthy lifestyle products industry.

The awards, presented at Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore, Md., will honor four retailers in the categories of Innovation, Sustainability, Best New Store, and Community Engagement & Outreach. Three natural grocers have been nominated in each category. Maya Wenner, our grocery manager, will represent the Co-op at Expo East. Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on Friday, September 23, 2016.

We want to thank New Hope Network for recognizing our commitment to local foods. Our community benefits in so many ways from the partnerships we have developed with local farmers and value-added food producers. We keep more money in the local economy, support a variety of jobs, and reduce our environmental impact by decreasing the miles products travel before reaching our shelves. Add to this how good it all tastes, and local food is a win-win.

Chequamegon Food Co-op’s micro-loan program is a revolving loan fund for agricultural producers and processors. The program has been very successful in helping small producers to help fund projects that make a big impact on their business.

Produce Promises is a purchasing agreement program where the Co-op asks local farmers to commit to growing and selling a certain amount and type of produce to the Co-op. Each winter, the produce department sends out requests to local farmers that include a list of the store’s needs for fruits and veggies. Farmers then send back an agreement to provide a certain type of produce at an agreed upon price.

The CHIP for Change donation program lets customers round up their purchase total at the Co-op’s registers to help fund the micro-loan program. In 2015, the Co-op collected $20,934.60 in CHIP funds and loaned out $22,450.

The goal of all three programs is to support and grow the regional farming and food processing economy and increase the amount of locally and sustainably produced products available for sale.

Our Co-op was founded in 1976 and we are currently celebrating 40 years as a cooperative, community-owned grocery store. As an innovative leader in the local food system, we work to develop relationships with local businesses to provide our community with the freshest local food and highest-quality value-added products. The Co-op is proud to have the community’s support in building these programs. We couldn’t do it without you!