Food co-op seeks downtown New Ulm location

NEW ULM – Despite having to close its doors at its former South Minnesota Street location due to real estate litigation, the New Ulm Community Market and Cooperative lives on with a wide variety of locally-produced food.

Elena’s bread, which is made with local honey and without preservatives, was among the biggest sellers at the Food Cooperative exhibit at the New Ulm Home & Health Show over the weekend.

“We continue to operate without a physical location, but we want to relocate downtown,” cooperative board member Tracie Vranich said. “We’d like to rent a downtown location with another business or several of them. We feel there are more and more people living downtown, and they don’t have a food store nearby. More and more people that live downtown tell us they want a food store nearby. Our food stores are located at the ends of town.”

Vranich said the food cooperative has a number of new board members with lots of energy and creative “juices.”

“People tell me they want to support us,” Vranich said.

Last year, the cooperative ordered nearly 60 free-range, antibiotic-free frozen turkeys ranging in weight from 10 to 24 pounds from the Ferndale Market, owned and operated by Dale and Fern Peterson of Cannon Falls.

Cooperative member benefits include an opportunity to support a cooperative dedicated to high-quality food and service, pre-ordered product discounts, a member newsletter, dividends in profitable years, voting for board members and running for the board and a reduced co-op class fee.

Food co-op principals include voluntary and open memberships, democratic member control, autonomy and independence, community concern, cooperation among co-ops, education, training and information plus member economic participation.

(Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at