The history of the Viroqua Food Cooperative
The Viroqua Food Co+op began as a natural foods buying club organized by a small group of individuals who worked together to provide their families with healthy foods. In the fall of 1995 we opened our first store in a rented space at 303 N. Center St. in Viroqua.
Despite the limited space and out-of the-way location, our little Co-op began to grow and thrive. In 1999 we renovated our modest space and expanded the retail space to 920 square feet to meet the needs of our growing membership.
Just ten years after opening at the first location, with an ever growing membership, we completed construction of our new store at 609 N. Main St. with a retail space of 4,400 square feet, more than four and a half times greater!
More than 100 new members joined the first three days the store opened. In the year following the move the Co-op went from 15 employees to 50. Membership increased to 1,700, and sales grew to $2.6 million. By the end of our second year in the new store, our membership had grown to over 2,000 and sales were $3.1 million. Twenty years after our humble beginnings, VFC now has more than 3,750 owners and employs over 60 people. We are currently in the middle of an expansion project that will double our square feet to over 9,000 square feet. While over 70 percent of sales come from our committed owner-members, everyone is welcome to shop at the Viroqua Food Co+op.
Viroqua Food Cooperative strives to be an active partner in our community. We support dozens of local growers and producers by providing a retail outlet for their products. VFC contributes to our community by sponsoring educational events and donating to local organizations. We recognize that practicing good business citizenship supports the mission of our Co-op and will help raise the overall level of social and economic well being in our community!
The Viroqua Food Cooperative combines a commitment to natural foods, superior customer service and the building of a cooperative business. We emphasize organic and local foods and products to promote the long-term health of individuals and the environment. As member-owners and as a center for community, we offer the opportunity to create together a work of enduring value.