Bloomington’s local co-op grocery is undergoing major challenges. That is how a press release from Bloomingfoods describes recent developments there.
Tim Clougher, the former board president, has resigned and been replaced by another board member, Caroline Beebe. At the same time, Bloomingfoods has invited a national organization to review its operations.
Last week, the Daily Local News ran a feature interview with a co-op member, Keith Taylor, who had been circulating a petition that demanded just such a review or an audit. Taylor also researches cooperatives at the Ostrom Workshop at IU. He also stated that he had access to most of the board and many of its employees. He had come to the conclusion that Bloomingfoods may not survive the imminent arrival of competition unless it made significant changes.
The Bloomingfoods press release acknowledges major challenges, mentioning the announcements from Lucky’s Market and from Wholefoods that they were opening stores in town. It didn’t mention that the recently renovated Kroger on College Mall Road has an expanded natural and whole foods section, an area in which Bloomingfoods has specialized.
Bloomingfoods announced that it has asked for the assistance of the National Co-operative Grocers Association, the leading professional organization of this sector, to which Bloomingfoods belongs. The external reviewers have been scheduled to pay a site visit at the end of April. In the interest of full disclosure, Bloomingfoods is an underwriter at WFHB.