HISTORY OF SITKA FOOD CO-OP
The Co-op started in May 2010 as an attempt to bring healthy, organic foods to my family at more affordable prices than were available at the time. I reached out to friends and neighbors to see if anyone else would like to order bulk food together and share the shipping expense we have here in Sitka. Many people were interested!
We started ordering once a month, and eventually the orders grew to a point that I could not contain them in the small space I was renting at the time. By this point, the word had gotten out about the bulk ordering business I was running, and the list of members continued to grow. I decided that I wanted to continue on with this venture, but needed more support.
In May of 2011 I sat down with a friend and decided to start a Food Cooperative. We had the retail space to set up, sharing with the Balanced Practice Rolfing and Yoga studio, and a solid core group of folks to get the ball rolling. Lots of new members came in as we held public meetings to drum up interest and in September of 2011, we incorporated as a Cooperative in the State of Alaska and began building a basic foundation for the Sitka Food Co-op organization. Since then, we have continued to grow our membership and our vision.
It is our hope to work towards opening a retail store with regular business hours – while continuing to provide bulk ordering to our members so that they can all enjoy the best food at the least expensive prices available! Our purpose is not to generate a profit for a single owner but to stay financially strong so we can serve the needs of our members and to give back to the community.
The sky is the limit with the Co-op! Being a member owned and operated cooperative means that it will go as far as we all take it!
-Ann Betty, Founder
Co-op’s Current Status
We started with 5 families in 2010 and by the end of 2020, the Co-op had 250 active household and business members, who purchased over $530,000 in wholesome and natural products from and through the Co-op. In 2020, the Co-op grew by another 30% over the previous year and that growth rate isn’t showing any signs of slowing down!