In the fall of 1999, members of the Riverwest Workers Buying Club and other community members decided to dedicate their time and resources toward building a viable neighborhood food co-op. Thanks to the generosity of two loyal members, the 1904 former Schlitz Tied House at the corner of Clarke and Fratney was purchased and rented to the Co-op. After two years of planning and fundraising, and thousands of hours of hard work, the Co-op opened its doors to the public in November 2001.
Initially the store had only a couple of shelves and a few dozen items. Our first few years were dedicated to expanding the inventory. After three years, we were successful enough to hire one full-time and one part-time employee to compliment the volunteer staff.
The Riverwest Co-op Café opened in October 2004. The Café has earned a great reputation throughout the city for offering delicious vegetarian and vegan fare and has received positive reviews in the local media. The café prides itself on using the same local, organic ingredients in our food that we sell in our store.
The Co-op now boasts over 3000 members and over a hundred active volunteers who put in thousands of volunteer hours.