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.



Founded as buying club by Davis residents and UCD students


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


Moved to store on 5th Street, at L


Beginning of effort to incorporate


• 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


Second vote on moving to G Street; move is victorious


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


Co-op buys building at 620 G Street from Safeway


Extensive interior remodeling


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


Extensive interior and exterior remodeling, as last tenant leaves


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


Share equity from members tops $1 Million


First payment of patronage dividend to shareholders


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


Members vote in favor of loan proposal to renovate store


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


• 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.


• Grocery and Wellness aisles are reset

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


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

• Patronage Refund distributed to shareholders


• Completed phase one of sustainable landscape through Whole Systems.

• Received Certification for “OWL WISE LEADER” by not using rat poison in the store

• Patronage Refund distributed to shareholders

• Invited consultants to review Center store makeover


• Partnered with UC Davis Food and Veggie Up to provide food for Food Pantry

• Conducted exit surveys and held focus groups about store

• Presented findings of shopper survey to board and received approval to complete a store makeover

• Utilized Pacific Craft Builders for construction and Indigo Architects for design

• Updated Produce department by removing old cases, upgraded wet rack to be more energy efficient

• Moved bulk to the front and center of the store, moved wellness where old bulk section used to be

• Completed phase two of sustainable landscape in the Teaching Kitchen

• Makeover project started June 2018


• LED lighting upgrade completed. Business being run by 100% renewable energy through Valley Clean Energy,

• Center-store makeover ended January 2019

• Added Customer service counter and Wellness counter

• Meat department updated with new “reduced oxygen packaging”

• Completed Information Technology infrastructure update in the store

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.