Scene from the Los Alamos Co-op Market’s 10 year anniversary celebration in 2021. Photo by John McHale/ladailypost.com
In 2006, a letter was published in the local paper, asking if the community was interested in having a health food grocer in town. At that time, there was very little access to local/natural/organic type foods in Los Alamos. The letter was received well, and Beata Vixie, Tevis Baer and Nancy Savoia went on to collect 500 signatures in favor of this vision.
Subsequently, they met with the board of La Montanita Coop (ABQ and Santa Fe), who kindly offered to assist with opening Los Alamos’ own co-op. The first board of nine members was then formed. Karen Kendall, CPA, was one of the first to join that newly formed board, and she became the steadfast guide for the co-op financials. The board continued to meet regularly and began to also meet with the La Montanita General Manager CE Pugh.
During the next few years, it was a struggle to find a place for a downtown store. Finally, after three years, local owners of the land at Entrada, Sam Gardner and Rick Reiss, offered to build a building and lease it to the co-op.
The board had discussed a loan possibility with one of the local banks, but the loan was eventually denied. This was a heavy disappointment, and possibly the end of the vision. But the board was advised to consider a Member Loan Program, as this was working well for other cooperatives around the country. Jane Riese and Karen Kendall implemented the paperwork, and the board went to work procuring funds from the initial co-op members in the form of loans. This allowed the co-op to begin building its store.
The community’s input was amazing, both financially and with sweat equity, as these members helped with everything from painting, cleaning and organizing as the store was being built.
It is important for the community and current staff to understand that the co-op exists because of the founding members and those subsequent members who continue to support the co-op. It is one of the only truly community owned businesses in Los Alamos!
In 2011, the Los Alamos Cooperative Market opened in Los Alamos, and this year the LA Co-op proudly celebrates 11 years of helping sustain all things local. Through partnerships from local neighbors around Northern New Mexico, the Co-op strives to continue purchasing from local vendors, whenever possible.
By supporting local farmers, growers and vendors, and from the support from each purchase as loyal customers, this support goes back into the community by creating and providing jobs for the local population. The Co-op currently has 24 staff members who work tirelessly in various ways making sure the Co-op runs smoothly every day.
A special thank you to the following small businesses joining us to help celebrate this year:
- Sweet Grass CO-OP has generously donated their ground beef for the food for this event, in their absence.
- SFYSA Jazz Project
- Steph Hagelberg Yarn, Hats & Tie Dye
- Growing Opportunities Greenhouse Inc.
- Daniele Ruley, Balanced Behavioral Dog Training
- Flowers by Gillian
- Betsy Robin, Handmade Pillowcases, Tote Bags & Aprons
- Jacona Village Bakery
- 35 North Coffee
- Bathtub Row Brewing Co-Op
- Susan Tesch, Custom Quilts
- Verde Food Company
- Pathways to Optimal Health
Los Alamos Co-op continues to provide member-owners with an exclusive benefit throughout the year including 10 percent off on the 10th of every month throughout 2022, as well as 15 percent off on bulk items on the 15th of every month.
Also, for the month of March 2022, all members will receive a one-time 20 percent off discount on their entire order at checkout!
Please come celebrate the 11th anniversary event, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 5, at 95 Entrada Drive! For more information, contact Front End Assistant Manager Alysia Dahlby at email@example.com.