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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Go Organic converting operations to co-op

(Feb. 19, 2015) Go Organic grocery store in Berlin announced a major change this month, as the three-year-old shop began preparations to convert to a food cooperative.
Owner Beth Gourley began holding public meetings to address the conversion on Feb. 16.
“I had originally wanted to do a co-op when I first opened the store, but it just didn’t work out that way,” Gourley said. “In the three years we’ve been in business, the interest has grown and now we feel like there’s a real demand. The interest is there now.”
A co-op, Gourley said, is a food distribution outlet owned and governed by investors and shareholders.
“It’s basically just a group of people that get together and buy good quality food at an affordable price,” Gourley said. “It’s volunteer-owned and controlled by the people who use it. When you have a co-op, you’re often able to get things accomplished at a greater rate and it can be much more efficient, because you have multiple people working toward the same goals.”
The co-op will source food from local farms and distributors, and will focus on organic products.
“Organic is just safer food,” Gourley said. “I’ve always been a big one for foods that aren’t genetically modified, no chemicals, no artificial flavors or colors, and it’s all sustainable.”
Go Organic will essentially remain a retail store, Gourley said, but with a board of members voting on how operations are carried out.  
Gourley said she was pleasantly surprised by the initial response to the changeover.
“We’ve gotten a lot of interest,” she said. “I got a little nervous in the beginning, but the response has been great so far.”
A one-time investment of $100-$300 enables people to “buy in” to the co-op, while others can buy shares into the system. The co-op is run like a business, meaning if the idea is successful, investors will see a profit at the end of the year.
Gourley plans to conduct a feasibility study before beginning, and said fundraisers and public grants will likely help raise some initial capital.  
“The four meetings that we have are going to help me find out who is interested and what their talents are, and to develop some task forces to accomplish what we need,” Gourley said. “We do need participants and we encourage everybody to come out and learn more about what we’re doing.”
Go Organic will be closed until March 2.
Meetings will be held on Thursday, Feb. 19 from 6-7:30 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 22 from 2-3:30 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 28 from 10-11:30 a.m. at 13 Vine St in Berlin.
For more information call 443-513-4255 or email