Wasatch Co-Op’s Catch-22: More Members Needed To Make Progress – Salt Lake City Weekly

Ben Gaddis’ piece of scratch paper has a list inked onto it: apples, lamb, cumin, potatoes, a few odd household items. In Gaddis’ ideal world, he wouldn’t be...

Ben Gaddis’ piece of scratch paper has a list inked onto it: apples, lamb, cumin, potatoes, a few odd household items. In Gaddis’ ideal world, he wouldn’t be taking his list to a national-chain grocery, but to a store he jointly owns with community members. And Gaddis hopes that might become reality within the next year. 

Gaddis is board chairman of the Wasatch Cooperative Market, which will be Utah’s first community-owned, full-service grocery store—think of a community-owned-and-operated Whole Foods. Hundreds of co-ops already exist around the country. “It’s an anomaly that there isn’t one here,” Gaddis says.

Wasatch Co-op has been in the works for 2 1/2 years, with potentially a while yet to go before opening its doors. The co-op currently has about 100 member-owners, who each paid a one-time fee of $300 to join; 200 more members are needed to fund a necessary feasibility study. At least 1,200 members are needed for the co-op to open, and attracting additional member-owners presents inherent difficulties, Gaddis says.

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