When a small group of people in 1978 organized Central Co-op to supply themselves with ethically sourced wholesome food, they likely had no idea how important their co-op would become to their neighborhood and to hundreds of Washington farmers and food artisans. It’s a place where entrepreneurs like Abdul Mohamud of Doolie’s Salsa get key early support to help their businesses grow; where shoppers anticipate the appearance of peaches from Collins Family Orchards or peppers from Alvarez Organic Farms; where supporting the local economy is not just a marketing ploy and treating workers fairly is part of the bottom line. For forty years, the Co-op has been a community-initiated and community-grown hub for local eaters and producers.
Located at the top of Capitol Hill at the corner of 16th and Madison, the community-owned natural grocery store Central Co-op is a true local treasure. Wander in and you will find beautiful fresh produce, sustainable meat and seafood, an in-house deli with scratch-made seasonal dishes, and exciting flavors from many independent Seattle producers—all on top of basic groceries for your everyday needs!
What really makes Central Co-op exceptional is that the product selection is an expression of the values of the 14,200+ members who own and democratically govern the Co-op. These values also drive the Co-op’s respect for their workers, who receive progressive wages and an impressive benefits package and who make up half of the elected members of the board of trustees. The Co-op has a truly-outsized impact on the local economy. In 2017 an economics firm called Civic Economics conducted a local-impact study of Central Co-op and found the following:
Per square foot, Central Co-op circulates 7 times more money in the local economy than the average national chain grocer.
52 cents of every dollar spent at Central Co-op stays local (compared to 23 cents at an average grocer).
The Co-op pays double the average percentage of revenue on wages and benefits compared to the average US grocer.
20% of all dollars spent at Central Co-op are spent on goods from Washington state producers (with over 400 WA producers represented on their shelves).
Central Co-op is more than an excellent grocery store, it is a people-powered engine in the local economy. There is a lot to celebrate as they reach their 40th anniversary on October 16!
The celebration will kick off on Saturday, October 13 with baby goats out in front of the store from 11am to 4pm, and 20% off cheese all day long—and last through the following Saturday when their anniversary special will be 20% off all chocolate! Here is the day-by-day schedule of events and specials:
Saturday, October 13: 20% off all cheese, plus baby goats in front of the store on Capitol Hill!
Sunday, October 14: 20% off all supplements and body-care, plus baby goats at the La Paloma Artisan Market, in the parking lot of the Co-op’s future-home in Tacoma
Monday, October 15: 20% off all deli-made food
Tuesday, October 16: 20% off all bulk foods and members get an additional 10% off one shopping trip, plus special treats for everyone throughout the day
Wednesday, October 17: 20% off all produce
Thursday, October 18: 20% off all frozen food
Friday, October 19: 20% off all meat & seafood
Saturday, October 20: 20% off all chocolate
The daily department specials are open to everyone (member or not) and all are invited to join in the fun during their anniversary week!
For the last decade in Seattle, change has come to seem like the only constant but Central Co-op is one fixture the neighborhood can count on. Whether they joined 1978 or just moved to town, their members ensure that the Co-op will continue to serve the needs of the community as they evolve for the next forty years and beyond.