Build a food co-op in Cedar Falls!

Steve Hoodjer
Cedar Falls Food Co-op
Cedar Falls, IA
The Cedar Falls Food Co-op is a community of health-conscious local food lovers in Cedar Falls and surrounding areas who aim to open a 10-14,000 square foot market providing fresh, local, and organic food. We began gathering memberships in 2014 and are ready to take the next step towards opening.
What makes us unique is that a food co-op is a business owned and operated by our members. We sell memberships to people in our community who will benefit from specials and discounts at our future store, have a vote in how the business is operated, and share in the profits of our success. Rather than one entrepreneur or a few partners going it alone, we are building a community of people invested – literally – in our success. We currently have nearly 300 “member-owners” – the early adopters who have bought into the vision – and need to recruit an additional 500-700 to raise the capital and demonstrate the base of support needed to flourish. Interest in local and organic food is booming across the grocery industry and in our city, the Cedar Falls Food Co-op is in the right place at the right time. Anchored by the University of Northern Iowa,
a thriving industrial park, and a growing medical sector, Cedar Falls has the income and demographics to support this venture. It is our goal to locate in or near the downtown area, close to trendy shops and restaurants but away from other grocers to maximize our market share.
The largest competition comes from traditional grocers who are rushing to get into the local and organic market space. Hy-Vee recently expanded its “Health Market” concept in our local store,
making it one of the largest of its kind in the chain. Retailers Target and Wal-Mart have recently expanded their healthful owned brand selection to reach increasingly discerning consumers.
The next step in our development is to hire a consultant from the food co-op industry to do a professional market analysis. We believe this will guide our Board of Directors in their plans for when and where to open our future store. We believe this will also demonstrate our viability to those who might be interested in the venture but have not yet joined us.

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