Bloomington Normal's community-owned food cooperative

What’s this co-op grocery store you’ve heard about??

This fun video explains the many ways a cooperative grocery helps our community. The only part that isn’t accurate anymore is the fact that we’re well above 500 now, and chugging towards the 2000 owners we’ll have when our doors open! Will you be one of those owners?


Tomato in Hand Would you LOVE a grocery store that:

  • Supports local farms?
  • Puts a focus on healthy people and a healthy environment?
  • Creates good jobs that pay fair wages?
  • Keeps money in our community?
  • Is owned by YOU and gives you a VOTE in its decisions?

Then you should become a GREEN TOP GROCERY OWNER!

Click here to fill out an application and purchase your owner shares. (Payment plans are available, as well as financial assistance plans for those who want to support the co-op but can’t afford the full owner equity payment.)

Why become a Green Top owner NOW?

Early owners make it possible for this project to move forward.

Recruiting owners before we even have a physical storefront is a crucial step in proving we have community support and can raise the basic investment funds needed to proceed to our next steps:

  • Selecting a location for Green Top Grocery
  • Securing loans
  • Hiring staff
  • Opening Bloomington/Normal’s own community-owned grocery store.

Our owners will play a crucial role in defining Green Top’s future.

Owners elect Green Top’s Board of Directors—and are eligible to serve as Board members themselves. Owners’ votes will set the direction for Green Top far into the future:  our values, our goals, owner benefits, and the products, programs, and services to be offered. So even though the store isn’t open YET, today’s owners are making key decisions — you want to be part of that!

Step Three
Green Top’s Owners share a deep commitment to the Green Top vision, and they are willing to take a leap of faith that says “I know our community will make this happen.”

Our early owners share the vision of a community-owned, socially responsible business that is committed to supporting local farms and food artisans, increasing availability and knowledge about healthy locally grown foods, paying workers a living wage, and boosting our local economy.

As one of these early owners, you share the vision… and you’ve shown you have faith and confidence in our community’s ability to make this happen. Even without an actual store where you can shop (yet!), you are willing to make a tangible investment in bringing this valuable asset to Bloomington-Normal, and we thank you for that.

We know some people will not feel comfortable becoming Green Top owners until later in the process — after the store site is selected or even after we have opened the store. We respect that point of view, however, right now we need to find our “early adopters” — the people who will truly make Green Top happen. If you are one of these people, we need to hear from you! Click on the image below to learn more.

How to Become an Owner


Want to know more? 

Here are links to help answer the questions we get most often:

3 Responses

  • I love the idea of a food co-op, but am increasingly troubled by the high-dollar approach. $30-50,000 for a feasibility study seems excessive. Any consideration of home-grown, low-follar approaches that won’t require $1-2 million to get off the ground?

    • hi Julian. I know we’ve contacted you directly to discuss your concerns, but we realized others may have this question also, so we’ll just answer it here. There are several points it’s important to understand:
      1. first, the feasibility study did not cost $30k-$50k. While the cost varied depending on the regions tagged to be included in the study, our study was much less than what you’re quoting. In fact, we received a grant that covered half of the study, so our out of pocket was only slightly over $10k. For this, we received extensive analysis of seven different ‘areas’ of Bloomington-Normal.
      2. second, while even our actual cost may seem high to some people, it’s very important to realize that without a feasibility study, we’d be operating on assumptions about our community and the odds of success that a food co-op would have. That doesn’t seem like a responsible use of the funds that our current owners have entrusted us with. In fact, we feel that NOT spending money on a feasibility study would be akin to starting any business totally blind about your demographics and location options.
      3. All of us on the board and founding committee are acutely aware that any expenditures we make are using owner equity, and we work very hard to be sure we are making the most informed decisions possible. Because of this, we decided it was in the co-op’s best interest to have the feasibility study conducted by a company (CDS) who specializes in exactly this sort of study, specifically for food co-ops. They are considered leaders in this industry, and food co-ops across the country who have hired them report extraordinary accuracy in their reports. We will be able to use the data they provided to build our business plan, our pro forma, and other key documents needed when meeting with lending institutions and and other financial supporters. So as you can see, it’s an essential first step to a successful food co-op in our community that will be around for years to come!
      I hope this reassures you that we are using our resources wisely. Thank you for your interest, and please let us know if you have other questions!

  • Profile photo of Mike Vacca Mike Vacca says:

    Is there any update on anything moving forward towards selecting a location or actually opening a store front? We were all told that would be happening as soon as we reached 500 owners and 500 owners happened a while ago, but we’ve heard little to nothing about progress since that point. We’re now above 800 owners, it seems like an update is in order and time to really be moving forward with a store.

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