History of Spiral
History of Spiral Food Co-op
The first organizing meeting was held October 9, 1978, in the Community Hall at the Hastings Library. It was open to anyone interested in becoming a member and helping start up the co-op. There were 75 people who attended, with 66 of them who signed up to help. Topics of discussion included: legal and financial aspects of starting a co-op; someone from the Stillwater Co-op who talked about their experiences in starting a co-op.
The primary focus in the beginning was on healthy foods that were not available in regular grocery stores, including “whole grains and flours, dried beans and peas, cheeses, yogurt, juices and local produce.” Another consideration was that members wanted to buy food without artificial additives, such as colors, flavors or preservatives. The co-op also offered members a cost savings on products due to buying in bulk.
Spiral Food Co-op opened for business on February 10, 1979 at 220 Sibley St., the old National Guard Armory. The co-op solicited donations of funds, equipment, such as refrigeration units, scales, sinks, containers, etc. In addition, volunteers contributed the labor necessary to make the building usable, including painting, installing and constructing shelves. The Spiral Food Co-op operated entirely on volunteer labor in the beginning. Volunteering at least 4 hours per month entitled members to a bigger discount. The store was open to the public.
The co-op quickly grew out of those small quarters, changed its name to Spiral Natural Foods, and moved twice within the downtown area before settling in at 302 Second St in 1992. During that time, the co-op also changed from being an annual fee and discount system for members to an equity based system where members paid a $100 share to become a member-owner.
Spiral moved to Highway 55 and Westview on September 2, 2011 to a great reception. The new store was half the size of the 2nd street location. Even so sales had nearly quadrupled by 2015 and the smaller size was beginning to shown. More shoppers and member-owners wanting there co-op to be able to offer more for the community.
In February of 2020 a capital campaign began to move into the larger space next door. On June 15th 2022 Spiral Food Co-op opened offering new products, wider isles, and more than twice the size of the previous store.
The history will continue to be written by the many committed people who have helped make this co-op exist since 1978.