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Manchester Food Co-op To Open Inside AG New England Store

Last updated on June 13th, 2024 at 05:08 pm

Manchester Food Cooperative (MFC), a member-owned local food cooperative, plans to open its food cooperative at the Harvest Market store in Bedford, currently owned by Associated Grocers of New England, also a cooperative.

MFC, founded in 2010, currently has 1,067 member owners and has been working for the past three years to secure and operate a full-service retail market to serve the greater Manchester area. The co-op will offer local food, including produce, meat, dairy and grocery items from New Hampshire farmers and local businesses, while engaging the community in healthy food relationships.

MFC will begin to raise capital funds over the next several months with plans to secure the site by mid-summer.
The transition from traditional grocery store to a co-op began in February with the product selection starting to convert to local, organic and sustainable selections. Once the capital goal has been reached, the store will undergo layout and design changes, such as expanding the cafe and building a larger prepared foods section, as well as integrating bulk items, health and beauty and supplements.

“We are very excited to work with the Manchester Food Cooperative in this new venture,” said Mike Bourgoine, president and CEO of AG New England. “AG has been a retailer-owned cooperative wholesaler for nearly 70 years, and the Bedford Harvest Market location has been part of the AG family since 1989. This partnership is a wonderful opportunity for AG, and we look forward to helping the Manchester Food Cooperative take root in this already successful location. AG New England supplies a number of member-owned cooperatives, some right here in New Hampshire, and they have become very successful supermarkets.”

MFC and its newly hired GM will begin taking next steps to facilitate its member loan campaign to raise the capital funds needed to open the co-op. The co-op will begin to work closely with local producers and farmers, as well as with AG New England, to begin to transition the product selection.

“After an extensive review by the board, it became obvious that this opportunity was our best option for success. This site provides significant benefits that were not available with any of the other locations we considered,” said Steve Freeman, VP of MFC’s board of directors. “We looked at over 12 locations in the past three years. When this opportunity presented itself, we spent a considerable amount of time looking at the financial opportunities and conducting a third market study; all signs said this will be our first store.”

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Shelby Team

The Shelby Report delivers complete grocery news and supermarket insights nationwide through the distribution of five monthly regional print and digital editions. Serving the retail food trade since 1967, The Shelby Report is “Region Wise. Nationwide.”

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