Co-op Site Announced

COLUMBUS, INDIANA—Columbus Food Co-op held their Annual Meeting Wednesday

evening, April 26, at Columbus City Hall. During the meeting, Dan Fleming, a member of the

Co-op Board and Chairman of the Site Selection Committee announced that the Co-op has

signed a Letter of Intent to occupy an 8,400 square foot space at 1580 Central Avenue. The

Letter of Intent was signed this week between the Food Co-op directors and landlords John

Counceller and Andrew Counceller.

“This is a great location for the Columbus Food Co-op. It is centrally located on a busy city

street. It is easily accessible by public transportation. There’s diversity in the surrounding

businesses. A real plus for the Co-op is that the landlords are also Co-op owners. John and

Andrew Counceller will be outstanding partners as we work to open the Co-op grocery store,”

said Mike Johnston, Board Chair of Columbus Food Co-op.

Columbus Food Co-op is a community-owned food cooperative working to bring a full-service

grocery store that provides more local and wholesome foods and products to Columbus and the

surrounding area. While not everything in the store is sourced locally, first year sales of local

food and products are estimated at $500,000, jumping to $2 million by year 10 of operation. The

location on Central Avenue is 8,400 square ft., providing 6,000 square ft. of retail space. An

initial store layout and design is being developed. Detailed project plans are under

development. Construction is expected to begin in early 2018 and the store is expected to open

in late 2018.

In addition to the store location, the Co-op announced three new staff additions:

Katie Novak, the Outreach Coordinator for Green Top Grocery in Bloomington, Illinois will act as

an advisor to the Owner Loan Campaign. Katie led Green Top’s successful Owner Loan

Campaign, which raised $1.5 million from their Owners and community partners.

April Williams of Columbus will join the team on May 1 as Owner Loan Campaign Coordinator.

April is a marketing and communications professional with a successful track record in

numerous Columbus initiatives. She has assisted multiple nonprofits in reaching their

development goals and most recently, as Development Director for the Columbus Park

Foundation, led capital projects including Race2play Park Improvements, People Trail

Expansion, Hamilton Ice Arena Renovation, and Columbike Bikeshare Program, raising over $4

million in community assets for the City of Columbus.

Anita Doyle has joined the team as Outreach Coordinator, a role previously held by SaraBeth

Drybread. Anita was born in Nuneaton, England and grew up in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

She has experience in local economic development and business development. Among her

responsibilities, Anita will lead the Co-op’s Owner Growth initiatives, helping us reach our goal

of 1500 Owners by the time the store is opened in 2018.

For more information about our Columbus Food Co-op, how to join, or general questions, browse or find us on Facebook.


Seeking Outreach Coordinator

Former Outreach Coordinator, SaraBeth Drybread, has transitioned onto the Co-op board and is pursuing further professional opportunities in the field of retail business public relations. She was hired by Bloomington based Upland Brewery and is also working on her MBA. 

There is no doubt that she benefited the Co-op greatly in so many ways, and there is also no doubt that her experience as Outreach Coordinator benefited her professional growth.

The Co-op is looking to forge another such mutual relationship.

Are you interested?

The following is the Outreach Coordinator job description: 

Read more

Meet your new board president!

jb.pngIt is an exciting time for your Columbus Food Co-op as we prepare for the Fall and continue work on selecting a great location. As member owners we know it is a wise investment in our future and children's future to have a store that reflects our values, heritage, and diversity with resources as close to home as possible.

You the members elected Kevin McCracken, Sarah Grey, and I to the board last November and it has been an honor to sit on the board with them, and all the board members, as they've all taught and shared so much. As with last November, I am still happy to help in whatever way I can to bring a meaningful, cooperatively owned, full service grocery store to our community. 
As a "working" board, our role is to serve the member-owners, the mission, and to get a store open! It's the toughest, and most rewarding, stage to be in. So, in the coming months I hope to hear from the community about exciting things like store design preferences, product mixes, and educational topics to address. We already have gotten a lot of awesome feedback on our renewed mission statement and core values discussion, so I know the passion is out there for this store. The sooner we can bump up membership (and eventually investments too) the better because we will have the store we've imagined. Sounds good, right?
Jon Bachmeyer

Board transition: A note from Kevin McCracken

Untitled_design.pngDuring the fall of 2011, my life began to change, unbeknownst to me. The agent of that change was my involvement with the co-op. I began as a committee volunteer and within a year, I was serving on the board. It would be years before I understood the role that the co-op would play in my life.

For the past three years, I have served as board president of Columbus Food Co-op and my experience has been extremely gratifying. And now, I must prepare for more change. My commitment to the co-op has required me to postpone further graduate study. I now I find myself at the point where I can no longer postpone those studies. 

So, I have resigned as board president in order to create more time to further my education. I remain an elected member of the board and ardent supporter of the co-op and its mission. You will still see me at annual meetings, the farm market, and various other co-op events. But, I find it necessary to step away from myriad behind-the-scenes meetings and commitments.

To facilitate the transition of leadership, I have engaged in an ongoing dialogue with new board president Jon Bachmeyer and with site coordinator, Dan Fleming. I have full confidence in Jon, Dan, and the rest of the board. We are on the cusp of exciting news and I am hopeful that we will realize our vision of a full-service cooperatively-owned grocery in our community. Our co-op is constantly growing and evolving and I view this change as one that is good for our co-op. 

As I look back upon the past five years, I can think of many anecdotes worthy of sharing.         
Here is one:

I was a participant in a co-op workshop in Bloomington last year. The presenter asked each person to share with the group what skill or strength he or she brought to their co-op. Each person (about 40) answered. The responses included, “unbridled enthusiasm,” “financial management skills,” “passion for healthy food,” and many, many others. I found it fascinating to hear the broad array of answers given with sincerity and without hesitation.

The presenter next asked participants to raise a hand if they believed that being involved with their co-op had changed their life. Immediately, every person raised their hand. There was no hesitation and no glancing around to see what others were doing. There was simply a spontaneous group declaration that each of us was immersed in a life-changing experience and that each was better for having done so.

For me, it was a moment of awareness unlike any other. The community connection I felt and the sense of purpose was never stronger.

I began volunteering in my community nearly 20 years ago. I have served on many boards and volunteered at many events. Nothing in my experience compares with the time spent serving our co-op. Our board has a level of commitment and effort that can only be described as an order of magnitude above any other board I have experienced. The friendships that have grown out of my board service and the people I have met have been among the highlights of my life.

So, I encourage each of you to give the co-op your passion, creativity, effort, and knowledge. What you get in return could change your life.

Kevin McCracken 


Before the Store Perks!

You don't have to wait until the store opens to receive benefits of being a Member-Owner! We're partnering with a growing number of local vendors and supporters who want to say thanks for being a Co-op Member and hopefully gain some new customers, too! Everyone benefits!

Stop by the Co-op booth at the downtown Farmer's Market to pick up your Member-Benefits card to show vendors and receive your discount!

Here's a list of benefits currently available:

Soapy Soap Company: $2 off essential oils
Fleming Family Beef: 10% off orders of $50 or less
Indiana Craft Jerky: $2 off bags of jerky (Aug. 6 only)
Nightfall Farm: 10% chicken
4 Paws Only: $2 off 1 lb bag of dog treats 

Supporting local growers & producers make a big difference. Our local sales projections for year 1 of operations is $560,000 and that increases to $1.5 million by year 10! More money going back to local producers can help them expand and gives you the satisfaction of high quality food & products made by your neighbors. 



Board of Directors to appoint new board member

This is a critical time for leadership at Columbus Food Co-op. Your board of directors is working hard on your behalf on several fronts to secure a new location and funding so we can get our store open. To do this, we need a full board of people who have the time and passion to be part of a working board at this time. Your democratically elected board will be accepting applications for board appointees at this time so we can keep moving forward on all fronts to get this store open! All appointed board members will be up for re-election during the co-op's next election cycle in November. 

Our board meets on the first and third Wednesdays from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Commons. Typically, we only meet on the third Wednesday, but through August we decided to add the meeting on the first Wednesday as we have so many issues to address.

In addition to board meetings, we have an array of events at which it is helpful for board members to attend. The list includes:

  • Annual meeting
  • Member update meetings
  • Farm market
  • Service group presentations
  • Volunteer recruiting & training meetings
  • Tabling at various events
  • Annual Street Fair

Click here for Board Roles & Responsibilities
Click here to download Application  

Application deadline is Sunday, July 3. Submit to: as an attachment OR
Columbus Food Co-op, PO Box 1270, Columbus IN 47202 OR
drop off at Downtown Farmer's Market booth from 9-12:30pm on June 17, 25, or July 2

For any questions or more information about board service, feel free to contact Board President Kevin McCracken or Board Treasurer Mike Johnston
Kevin: 812-603-1964,
Mike: 812-350-4628,

Listen to Kevin describe what it takes to be a board member and how serving for the Co-op has impacted him. 



February News -- Co-op Update + Board Officers

Mike Johnston, board treasurer, provides an update on the site progress and the board elected new board officers at the January meeting! Click HERE to read the latest Co-op news!


2015 Co-op Board of Directors Candidates

Below are the candidates for the 2015 Co-op Board of Directors Election. Three seats are open. Member-Owners will receive voting instructions via email. Member-Owners can (and are encouraged!) to vote at the Annual Meeting on November 18 at Donner Center at 5:30pm. 

 Click HERE to download the ballot with instructions on how to vote. 

Your Co-op! Your Voice!

Jon Bachmeyer
Jolie Buchanan

Sarah Grey, current board member
David Kadlec, current board secretary
Kevin McCracken, current board president


September 14 Newsletter: Backyard Chickens Class, We're Hiring, Open Houses, & More!

Read the latest newsletter HERE! 

Subscribe by emailing or come to the Open House this Saturday and sign up! 


Owner Update Meeting

Columbus Food Co-op held a public meeting August 17th at City Hall, featuring guest speaker and food co-op consultant, 11898731_1010766882267165_2806183619426279372_n.jpgJacqueline Hannah. More than 50 people attended and each received an update on the development of the co-op, an explanation of how the Columbus Food Co-op compares to start-up co-ops nationally, and how the co-op will likely impact the community.

The co-op is raising capital through a combination of owner loans, commercial financing, foundation support, corporate funding, and angel investors. In order to fully fund the approximately $2M project, the co-op board is focusing raising the last $400,000 of the owner loan campaign. The co-op launched the next phase of owner-loan efforts and will continue until October 1st.

Jacqueline Hannah, a consultant with the national non-profit Food Cooperative Initiative (FCI) told those in attendance that of the more than 140 start-up food co-ops in the country, Columbus Food Co-op is among those most likely to open and achieve success. She praised the co-op for successfully raising more than half of the owner-loans needed to fully fund the project and expressed optimism that the co-op will successfully fund the entire project.

Hannah, a former general manager at Common Ground food co-op in Urbana, IL has more than 20 years’ experience working in the natural foods industry. She spoke about the impact the co-op will have in the Columbus community, including generating $560,000 in additional sales of products from farmers and producers within a 100-mile radius. By year 10, that amount would rise to $1.3M. Also the co-op would create 25 jobs in the first year and add an additional 35 jobs—all paying a living wage—by year 10.

11921668_1010766932267160_1224583693963083530_n.jpgHannah said, “Columbus Food Co-op will create a new market for local farmers, stimulate the local economy, create living-wage jobs, and teach people how to buy and prepare affordable, healthy food. In addition, it will serve as the foundation of an emerging food culture in this community.”

Columbus Food Co-op is a start-up full service, natural food grocery store. For more information contact Kevin McCracken at 812-603-1964.


Right: Liz Brownlee from Nightfall Farm takes orders for holiday turkeys.
Above: Jacqueline Hannah, Kevin McCracken, and Mike Johnston report to the attendees and answer questions. 


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