By Brandon Kane, General Manager

A cooperative’s strength is derived from its owners, and I can say with confidence that our co-op has some of the most committed ownership in the nation. GreenStar is more than 13,000 owners strong and 78 percent of our sales are made to owners.

Now here we are ushering in a new and improved GreenStar at 770 Cascadilla Street. I’m filled with excitement for the work of the next several months. As GreenStar grows, so does cooperation. I’ve been providing monthly updates on the West End expansion, so this month I’d like to share some great new developments at our other GreenStar locations.

GreenStar’s Collegetown store celebrates its third anniversary this month. Already holding its own as a business, Collegetown boasts sales in 2018 that surpassed $2 million. Our newest location has met a significant need for fresh and healthy foods in the community surrounding Cornell for students and locals alike. We continually examine our product line and modify as needed to meet the needs of our owners who shop at this location.

The Collegetown store also provides many customers with their first experience of ownership in a cooperative. Last year, we added Pell Grant recipients to the eligibility list for our FLOWER discount program. As a result, Collegetown added hundreds of GreenStar owners to the roster, and growth continues each year. FLOWER is just one example of how the cooperative business model supports our student population by increasing access to natural foods, even as it strengthens our local economy. August brings in the next school season, and we’ve done our work to prepare well in advance, creating special events and promotions to welcome new and returning students.

Our DeWitt location, first opened in 2004, is in the midst of another complete refresh as we exit summertime and enter the fall. When we opened this second GreenStar location more than 15 years ago, we didn’t foresee just how much of a community anchor the 2,300 sq. ft. satellite store would become! We’re working now to prepare our DeWitt location to better serve the rapidly growing downtown Ithaca population. The store layout will be reconfigured to accommodate more sit-down dining and expand both our produce and prepared food offerings. We’re also ever refining our product line to deliver more of a one-stop shopping experience despite the smaller space.

We talk a lot about our collective purpose in the co-op world, always looking ahead to maximize the positive impact we can have on our communities. These visions for the future are ambitious, but they match what we’ve been doing all along: we’ve demonstrated and continue to choose a strong commitment to the operation of a successful cooperative business that serves as a model of environmental and community stewardship.

Thank you for your ongoing loyal support and for growing with GreenStar.