National Co+op Grocers Adds 3 More Members

Org welcomes Kensington, Community Co-op, Gem City Market and Wild Onion Market
Bridget Goldschmidt
Managing Editor
Bridget Headshot
Kensington Community Food Co-op Bulk Section Main Image
One of the new National Co+op Grocers members is Philadelphia-based Kensington Community Food Co-op, whose bulk food section is shown here.

The board of National Co+op Grocers (NCG), the business services cooperative for retail food co-ops across the country, has approved three new members: Kensington Community Food Co-op, in Philadelphia; Gem City Market, in Dayton, Ohio; and Wild Onion Market, in Chicago.

“Co-ops not only provide people with access to fresh, healthy foods, they empower and help build thriving communities by keeping decision-making and profits at the local level,” said NCG CEO C.E. Pugh. “We’re thrilled to have these three co-ops join NCG, and we look forward to supporting their work for many years to come.”

[Read more: "Food Co-ops Tout Social, Environmental Gains"]

The three markets expand the organization to 154 member co-ops operating more than 220 storefronts in 38 states, with combined annual sales of $2.4 billion. Following is some information about the new members:

Kensington Community Food Co-op (KCFC) was founded in 2010 to serve the River Ward area of Philadelphia in various ways: increase access to fresh, high-quality and local foods; create good jobs for neighborhood residents; establish a community-oriented space for neighbors to gather and learn; keep profits local; and drive investment in the community. After its retail location opened in 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects, combined with operational challenges, resulted in the co-op’s closure in late 2022. Following a fundraising drive, however, Kensington recently reopened to the public in 2023. 

Gem City Market first began organizing in 2017. It opened its store in May 2021 with the goal of serving, engaging and empowering neighborhoods by providing affordable, high-quality food in a clean and welcoming environment that is worker- and community-owned. Gem City is a multi-stakeholder co-op with three classes of membership: workers, consumers and sponsors. As well as providing a full-service grocery store, Gem City Market features a teaching kitchen, a community room, a mini health clinic and a coffeehouse. The co-op has annual sales of approximately $2.6 million.

Wild Onion Market will serve Chicago’s Northside. The co-op began organizing in 2014 with the aim of  cultivating a thriving, community-owned grocery store that connects people to fresh, local food and to one another. Wild Onion Market expects to open its first retail location this summer in the Rogers Park community, with projected first-year sales of $3.1 million.

St Paul, Minn.-based NCG is a business services cooperative for retail food co-ops throughout the United States. It helps unify food co-ops to optimize operational and marketing resources, strengthen purchasing power, and ultimately offer more value to natural food co-op owners and shoppers.

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