Support from Sunrise Bank

*REPOST FROM SUNRISE BANK* Find full article here

Access to healthy food options has been a growing issue in the neighborhoods in North Minneapolis, MN. Many traditional grocery stores have left, forcing residents to either go far outside their communities, or, if that isn’t realistic for them, make do with the limited options at convenience stores.

Wirth Cooperative Grocery Store, which will open in the ground floor retail space at the Commons at Penn, seeks to address that issue by not only providing affordable, healthy food choices, but also by reinvesting in the community. A cooperative is a business owned by the people who use it; everyone is welcome to become an owner of Wirth Co-op merely by paying a one-time equity payment of $100 (low income options and payment plans are available). Owner payments are pooled together to help finance the Co-op.

Wirth Co-op had its beginnings from the Harrison Neighborhood Association, that on Earth Day in 2007 formed a board with the purpose of creating a co-op. Although the co-op has found a home outside the Harrison neighborhood, the goal remains the same—to provide access to food for residents of North Minneapolis.

Founding members include people who will be regular customers for all of their grocery needs, as well as others who may live outside of the community but want to take a direct role in improving food access. Everyone’s support is needed to help make Wirth Co-operative Grocery a success.

One of the most encouraging things for Wirth Co-op is that there are more food co-ops per capita in Minnesota than any other state, and rather than providing competition, these other co-ops are lending a hand to help in the success of their new neighbor.

More important than ever, Wirth Co-op aims to provide affordable, sustainable, and healthy food in North Minneapolis while educating its Members about buying healthy food affordably and also about the structure of a co-op and how that helps members invest in their community so that everyone has a seat at the table.

Learn more about Wirth Cooperative Grocery at

A Letter from the General Manager

I would like to take this time to thank all of our members for your commitment and patience in seeing this dream become a reality. It has been a struggle at times, but we are now approaching the final phases of development. One of the biggest things that happened recently was that our federal grant went through which has allowed us to close with our other lenders; as well it has allowed us to begin the buildout. During the 90 buildout we will begin the hiring process, vendor selection, and planning for our future engagement events such as our Annual Party and Grand Opening Celebration.

Also, we will be partnering with Northside Resident Redevelopment Council to recruit volunteers to beautify the store and neighborhood surrounding Wirth Co-op before the store opening. Lastly, I would like to reach out to our owners who are are interested in assisting in some of the things that need to be done during these final stages. Such as: marketing, outreach, planning, and the rest of the dirty work, so that we can get our store started on the right foot! Once again, thank you so much for your continued support!

Winston Bell, Wirth Co-op General Manager

Hello members!

We would like to start by thanking you for your patience. There have been several different requests for updates, and we appreciate your unconditional support as we work toward having regular updates.

We have been running on volunteer power this entire summer, with the board and several key members and volunteer consultants providing all of the support for opening the store. In brief, I’d like to summarize our progress:


Over the next month, with your help, we will significantly increase Wirth membership and investment. We know that over the years you have seen some false starts, and we acknowledge and understand members’ hesitations. Now with community lending institutions firmly behind our efforts, we can build momentum together. In the cooperative spirit, members will help decide the fate of our long-coveted dream.

Feeling the Co-op Love

There are over a dozen food cooperatives in the metro area and the number is growing. With more and more options available for people to buy their groceries, you might expect cooperatives in the Twin Cities to turn inward, keep their customers close, and focus on protecting their bottom line. But as Wirth Cooperative Grocery (WCG) moves toward becoming operational, the opposite has proved true: WCG has experienced overwhelming support from other cooperatives in making the dream of a co-op in North Minneapolis a reality.

8 Ways YOU Can Recruit Members

You are excited for Wirth Cooperative Grocery. You are ready to have access to a diverse selection of foods in your neighborhood. You have literally bought into the mission of a community-owned grocery store by becoming a member – even before food has hit the shelves. You’re on board and if you are wondering what other simple things you can do to help make Wirth Co-op a reality, here are eight ideas for members to recruit new members:

  1. Social Media: Follow and Retweet Wirth’s Twitter feeds. Invite friends to “Like” the Wirth Facebook feeds. Share Wirth’s blog posts (like this one!).
  2. Faith Communities: Make an announcement at your place of worship, inviting your faith community to make a difference in their community through access to good food.
  3. Co-workers: Tell your colleagues about why you’re excited for the Wirth Co-op, and let them know how they can join.
  4. Neighbors: Take an hour to go door-to-door and share about Wirth with the people on your block (contact us for up-to-date FAQ’s and materials).
  5. Volunteer: Farmer’s markets are coming and are a great opportunity for people to purchase local, fresh fruits and vegetables. Sign up to volunteer with Wirth to spread the word and recruit new members.
  6. House Party: Host a gathering to promote the Co-op (Wirth Co-op can arrange to have a board member or representative come to talk about the project).
  7. Wirth Co-op Outreach Committee: Join the team of people who plan events and represent Wirth in community events to increase visibility and membership. If interested, email
  8. Insert Your Idea Here: Send us your ideas (via the ‘Contact’ tab on the Wirth website) – and then make them happen!

We are well on our way to seeing years of work come to fruition in Wirth Cooperative Grocery. Thank you for believing in Wirth and casting the vision for others to join us!


Written by: Andrew Ulasich