Central Co-op, Tacoma

Recognizing the need for an affordable urban grocery that could provide local, organic, and natural food, a group of Tacoma residents came together in 2006, laying the roots of what would open in 2011 as the Tacoma Food Co-op.  In 2015, the Tacoma Food Co-op merged with Seattle’s Central Co-op, creating a stronger, regional entity with over 15,000 members.  Structured as a solidarity cooperative, Central Co-op’s ownership—including equity investment, dividend distributions, and Board representation—is shared 50/50 between Central Co-op’s workers and consumers.  Demonstrating its commitment to the local economy, a 2017 analysis found that Central Co-op returns more than 52 percent of its revenue back to the local economy, a proportion well above the average U.S. cooperative grocery (36 percent) and conventional grocery chains (23 percent).  In early 2018, Central Co-op will open a new Tacoma store in the West End neighborhood.