We are proud to be part of the long tradition of the consumer cooperative movement which began in Rochdale, England in 1844.
The Rochdale Equitable Pioneer Society sought to stop inequitable business practices by placing ownership of businesses in the hands of the patrons. It is truly a case of “the customer is the company.”
Good Foods Co-op was first organized as a buying club in November of 1972. Members met in each others’ homes to prepare orders and to divide up bulk shipments. Foods included organic and other unadulterated, minimally processed whole foods.
Within a few months, the Co-op had outgrown people’s living rooms, and in 1973, it moved downtown to the third floor of the YWCA on North Mill Street. This was the first of six moves for our Co-op which included our next move to a service garage on Ashland Avenue. The Co-op evolved into a small retail operation during the five years on Ashland Avenue.
After our move to the Short Street location in 1978, working in the store became optional for members and a discount for working members was instituted. The growing store staff reorganized as a Coordinators Collective and the officers were replaced by a Directive Collective.
Members chose a site in Woodhill Shopping Center in 1981 after we received notice that the Short Street building was to be demolished. The new site was inconveniently located for members and prices were raised to cover new costs. In 1984, in an effort to boost sales, the Co-op was opened to non-members. With dwindling sales and membership, it was unclear whether the Co-op would survive.
In 1986, after two years of searching, we finally found a site at 439 Southland Drive that was affordable and in a great location. Sales and membership grew on Southland Drive and the Co-op thrived.
The Co-op was bursting at the seams. In 1999, the Co-op moved to our current location. A full service deli and a community room were added to better serve the membership.
In 2002, our members voted to become a true cooperative. We dissolved our Kentucky nonprofit corporation, incorporated as a Vermont cooperative, and sold our first share on January 2, 2003. Good Foods Café opened in 2002 and quickly became a bustling community gathering spot.
Good Foods introduced a new logo and a new operating name (Good Foods Market & Café) in 2003. In 2004, Chapter 2, a satellite café, opened at the Downtown Central Library.
Celebrating Half a Century
Expansion planning began in earnest in 2008 and we raised over $450,000 in owner loans to help pay for the renovation. The 2009 expansion was completed on time and under budget and we celebrated with a Grand Re-opening in February 2010. The renovated store featured an artisan bakery, more produce, expanded grocery selections, and a beautifully renovated Café with larger bathrooms. The last phase of our remodel, completed in 2011, reconfigured our Meat & Seafood and Specialty Departments and streamlined our Customer Service and register areas.
In March of 2012, we made the difficult decision to close Chapter 2. With the change in the downtown economic climate over the last few years, the market shifted past our allowable tolerance. Good Foods proudly served the downtown community and appreciates the staff who worked diligently to promote Chapter 2.
We are proud of our humble grassroots beginnings and also of how far we have come in five decades of serving our community. Our long-standing tradition of supporting our Kentucky farmers has always been an integral part of who we are and we look forward to growing our partnerships within the local food community in the years to come. We recognize and thank the countless individuals who have made Good Foods such a dynamic community-owned cooperative.