It’s our intent to complement existing businesses rather than compete with them. According to the “competition paradox” our co-op will raise awareness and expand the market for healthful, local foods in our community, leading to increased sales for farmer’s markets and other local businesses selling similar products.
We are aware the co-op may pose a challenge for some businesses, at least in the short term. However, we know of at least one type of local business- local farms- that need a much larger market for their products. If we want to have any hope of increasing sales of local products from our current 5% to 15% or more, we need to provide consumers with easier, more reliable access to those products.
Current businesses may have a commitment to expanding markets for farmers, but they lack the capacity. Others have the capacity but lack the commitment. By pooling resources and building on shared values, the co-op will provide both the capacity AND the commitment needed to expand business for local farms AND improve access to healthful food for local families.