Worker-Owned Grocery in Northside + Take the survey

When Save-a-lot closed and an affordable grocery option disappeared, Northsiders jumped in immediately to analyze the problem and come up with solutions. The Northside Community Council created an ad-hoc committee.  People from Happen and CAIN began conducting surveys of former Save-A-Lot shoppers to better understand how people were being affected by the closure. Neighborhood architects did a study of the challenges and opportunities for repurposing the former Save-A-Lot into a new full service grocery.

Cincinnati Union Co-op Initiative (CUCI), a non-profit that partners with others to develop worker owned businesses that create family sustaining jobs , was asked if we could help develop a worker owned grocery store for Northside. Avondale and College Hill residents extended CUCI similar invitations. We said yes!

So, the goal : Develop a small chain of sustainable worker owned grocery stores that offer quality, affordable products in neighborhoods with low food access while creating family sustaining jobs for residents.

Easy? No. Possible? Yes. Why? 

• An awesome project team that includes the experienced Ohio Employee Ownership Center who is leading the feasibility study (due February 28).

• Technical assistance from Uplift Solutions, who helps grocers find a way to create sustainable stores in food desert areas,

• Support from the United Food and Commercial Workers, connections to dozens of their members with 30+ years experience managing different grocery store departments

• Technical assistance from Mondragon, world’s most successful network of worker-owned cooperatives (over 100 cooperatives, 80,000 employees and $24 billion annual sales)

• Extremely motivated and engaged residents!

We need your help! Please fill out the paper survey located inside the Northsider Newspaper available at outlets throughout Northside and return it to Happen Inc. 4201 Hamilton Avenue. You can be entered into a raffle to win a $20 gift certificate to a Northside vendor. Consider participating in Save-A-Lot meetings every other week as well. 

For more info on CUCI visit:

By Kristen Barker

Kristen Barker
About Kristen Barker (2 Articles)
Kristen is the President of the Cincinnati Union Co-op Initiative. As a community organizer for the past 12 years, she fosters faith, labor & community partnerships. She is the mother of a resilient daughter with special needs. She is a lifelong Cincinnati resident (except 2 years in El Salvador) and lives in Northside.

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