Co-op History

Started in a Davis living room in 1972, the Davis Food Co-op has grown into a full-service food cooperative owned and operated by over 9,000 local households. We've operated at 620 G Street since March of 1984.

For more Co-op history, please scroll down.

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1972

Founded as buying club by Davis residents and UCD students

1976

Opened first store on L Street between 4th and 5th

1978

Moved to store on 5th Street, at L

1979

Beginning of effort to incorporate

1981

• Finished incorporation as Davis Food Co-op, Inc., a California cooperative
• First frozen food case installed
• First vote on moving into empty Safeway store on G Street; move is defeated

1983

Second vote on moving to G Street; move is victorious

1984

Co-op moves to 620 G Street in March (more on the history of the building here)

1985, 1986

• Most other tenants at 620 G Street fail
• Difficult cashflow problems for Co-op during the summers

1987, 1988

• Turnaround in pricing structure, work requirement and marketing begins period of rapid growth
• Consumers Cooperative of Berkeley ("Berkeley Co-op") closes remaining stores and files for bankruptcy

1990

Co-op buys building at 620 G Street from Safeway

1992

Extensive interior remodeling

1993

Members vote against proposal to open a second store in Davis at “Farmtown Shopping Center”

1997

Extensive interior and exterior remodeling, as last tenant leaves

2000

Co-op buys building at 537 G/617 7th for office or service expansion

2002

Share equity from members tops $1 Million

2004

First payment of patronage dividend to shareholders

2005

First contact with Sutti & Associates; their opinion is that physical expansion is not necessary to increase sales & goods offered

2007

Members vote in favor of loan proposal to renovate store

2010

Installation of cash register system marks conclusion of renovation as described in 2007

2010, 2012

Competitors opening a mile and a half-mile from our location flatten sales versus same period in previous year

2014

• Store is updated with energy-efficient beer coolers.

• Patio seating area is increased by 20%

• Regular pay raises for employees are reestablished after a three-year pay freeze

• Grocery added a selection of artisanal and organic liquors and home-brewing supplies.

2015

• Grocery and Wellness aisles are reset

• Meat Department is upgraded with a brand-new, energy-saving meat case.

2016

• Added eco-savvy LED lights to our registers for a smoother check-out experience

• Patronage Refund distributed to shareholders

This history of the Davis Food Co-op for the years 1972 to 1984, titled Looking Back, is from articles by member and former newsletter editor Chris Laning. It is reprinted from the Davis Co-op News.