Founded in 1974 during the “natural foods” wave of food co-op creation, the North Country Food Co-op in Plattsburgh, NY has been a long-established fixture of this upstate NY town. It achieved important milestones such as owning its own building (including a second-floor community space) and growing to 1,800 member-owners. CDI’s own Jeremiah Ward, who grew up in Plattsburgh, worked at the Food Co-op before going off to graduate school, and now that he is back in his hometown and a Cooperative Development Specialist, he is working with the Co-op to implement some long-desired improvements. North Country Food Co-op is commemorating forty years in business by gearing up for a major store renovation that will include a new store layout, new coolers, freezers, central air conditioning, cash registers with a point-of-sale system, and inventory system. CDI is providing assistance in restructuring the co-op’s financial systems, designing a fundraising and member loan campaign, and conceptualizing a strategic expansion. A month and a half in, the loan campaign has far exceeded initial goals, with $68,000 raised in member loans, $50,000 from the City of Plattsburgh’s Economic Development Revolving Loan Fund, and $105,600 from the Cooperative Fund of New England. Member interest and morale is running very high, with a packed community room at their Annual Meeting on May 4. CDI is thrilled to be part of this exciting phase for North Country. Who says start-ups have all the fun?
Not Just a Facelift: At Forty, the North Country Food Co-op Gears Up for the Future