Co-Ops compared to Grocery stores

What is a co-op?

A co-op is a non-profit organization composed of a group of individuals (or organizations) formed for their mutual benefit, generally financial. (See Wikipedia for more details.)

They typically are democratic, volunteer associations. Being created for a specific public benefit, they are non-profit and return any profits back to the members/owners.

They include credit unions, mutual insurance companies, housing co-ops, rural electric power co-ops, consumer goods co-ops (like REI), distribution coops (like Ace Hardware) and producer co-ops (like Sunkist, Land’O Lakes).

Sources: and a Maine Biz story, March 2014, and a current directory from Cooperative Maine.

MaineBiz wrote an article comparing Co-Ops to conventional grocery stores. One comparison chart stands out:

co-ops compared to grocery stores

Maine has a growing number of co-ops, 158 as of today according to

and 16 specifically food-based co-ops:

Barrels Community Market Waterville
Belfast Co-op Belfast
Blue Hill Co-op Community Market & Café Blue Hill
Eat Local Eastport Co-op Eastport
Fare Share Market Norway
Gardiner Food Co-op Gardiner
Good Tern Natural Foods Co-op Rockland
Island Employee Cooperative Deer Isle, Stonington
Market Street Co-op Fort Kent
Marsh River Cooperative Brooks
Portland Food Co-op Portland
Rising Tide Community Market Damariscotta
Rosemont Market & Bakery Portland
Royal River Natural Foods Freeport
Stone Soup Artisans Saco
The County Co-op and Farm Store Houlton

We here at Make/Grow Local aim to serve all the co-ops in Maine and beyond!

Let us know if any are missing from this list. Updated March 1, 2017

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