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Coos Head Food Co-Op Has Moved!
By Annette Langenstein, Staff Writer
Published in the October 20, 2016 edition

Way back in 1978, Deb Krough moved to our area and started volunteering at a food co-op. She eventually had logged so many volunteer hours that she was asked if she’d like to get paid for what she was doing, and became a part-time cashier.  Fast forward 38 years later, and you’ll find Deb managing Coos Head Food Co-op, now located at 353 South 2nd Street in Coos Bay.

“This co-op first started in 1971,” said Deb, “and was located, I think, on Marion Street in North Bend.  We actually had three different locations in North Bend for a short time. But Since 1977, when two of its members co-signed a loan for the property, it’s been located on Sherman Avenue.  We recently moved to Coos Bay, and haven’t even had our grand opening yet, but it’s been busy!”

Now Coos Head Food Co-op has 15 employees and boasts a much larger store with ample parking.  “We knew several years ago that our location on Sherman in North Bend was difficult for people to find parking. So we set up a committee of dedicated members and they eventually located a spot that has a great downtown feel; you can walk or bike to it, and it’s in an appropriate neighborhood with good synergy.  All the customers and staff are so happy with our new location!”

Coos Head Food Co-op has moved to 353 S. 2nd Street in Coos Bay. Their grand opening will be this weekend Fri-Sun.

Coos Head Food Co-op is different from other grocery chains, Deb explained “We are a member-owned Cooperative. We have household shares and anyone can invest in a share, each member gets to vote. Generally speaking, people who enjoy or support community and personal ownership gravitate towards a cooperative entity.  It’s equally owned and is based on a person’s participation as a shareholder; how much money they spend at the co-op each year determines how much of a patronage dividend may be owed to them if profits allow.  The more you spend, the more you get back at the end of the year.”

Deb continued, “the 1970’s and 80’s were a time that co-ops needed to rethink their business model. Though the intention of co-ops is to not make a profit, it is a key responsibility to ensure the fiscal strength to remain in business for the owners. And we have more flexibility to buy local goods and work directly with local vendors for fresh products like meats (all grass-fed beef, pork that’s fed without any corn, soy or alfalfa, etc.).  We can provide a product that is guaranteed to be GMO-free. We have buffalo, rabbit, local poultry and eggs. Our local seasonal produce comes from Valley Flora in Langlois.”

The board at Coos Head Food Co-op listens to what their owners want, and they respond to those requests while keeping in mind that changes must be for the good of everyone involved.  “We get a lot of customer requests that range from a need to buy gluten-free products, or products that won’t aggravate their allergies. Some people just come in here to buy pet food!  We really do have something for everyone,” said Deb.

October is National Co-Op month, and to celebrate, Coos Head Food Co-Op will be having a grand opening, with lots of free samples, on October 21, 22, and 23, so come in and experience the Co-op for yourself.  Visit their facebook page for details.

Coos Head Food Store is open Monday through Friday, 9 am to 7 pm, Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm, and Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm.  Or give them a call at 541-756-7264.

“We had a traveler come through a couple of years ago who said he always tried to shop at co-ops,” said Deb. “After shopping here, and seeing the wide variety we had, he commented that ‘It says a lot about a community that supports  a Co-op.’  That says a lot about our community.” 

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