Moving Product Off the Shelf



Our client, David J. Thompson, in conjunction with Co-opportunity Cooperative Food Market in Santa Monica, California will be launching David’s book on the history and success of this extraordinary market next Saturday in honor of Co-op Month in the USA. My review of the book is here below!

Co-opportunity: The Rise Of A Community Owned Market
Book Review by Donna Pizzi of Blackstone Edge, Portland, Oregon

“Co-opportunity: The Rise of a Community Owned Market” reads like a good mystery. There is drama from the outset, with the struggles of its beginnings spearheaded by author, David J. Thompson, one of its four co-founders, to its near death in the late 1970s, to the dramatic entry of a hippie stranger who coins the store’s name, to its total renaissance borne out of people cooperating to bring it to its present state of glory – none of which occurred without some sparks flying, and some hearts broken and mended, too. It truly is a page turner.

Co-opportunity is the vibrant food co-op in Santa Monica, California, which co-sponsored the book about its unique beginnings over forty years ago. Lovingly authored by Co-opportunity co-founder, David J. Thompson, the most published author in America on cooperatives, the book is, indeed, a landmark story about a legendary co-op. It is being published in commemoration of Co-op Month in the USA, and in association with the book launch at Co-opportunity’s 41st Annual Meeting on Sunday, October 18th..

The book charts the amazing efforts of a small group of pioneers, who shepherd the cooperative food market from its humble beginnings all the way to becoming the busiest open-to-the-public single store co-op in the country, There are stories of boards being challenged, barriers being broken, hurdles being jumped, and the growth problems associated with organizational development, change and conflict. The book is a must-read for everyone presently engaged in the exciting and energetic wave of food co-ops around the country and will undoubtedly comfort those readers as they witness co-op dreams coming true.

The contributors to the book, who are a Who’s Who of Food Co-ops in America that include over 20 national and local co-op leaders, share their memories and testimonials throughout the book. Accolades from outside the cooperative sector have come from Frances Moore Lappé, author of “Diet for a Small Planet,” and scores of other books; Ruth Goldway, Former Mayor of Santa Monica and a former Chair of the US Postal Commission, Richard Katz, former Democratic Assembly Leader in California and Ambassador Derek Shearer now Director of the McKinnon Center for Global Affairs At Occidental College.

The book opens with greetings from Kevin McKeown, the present Mayor of Santa Monica, followed by a foreword by Ann M. Evans, a former Mayor of Davis and a co-founder of the Davis Food Co-op and the Davis Farmers Market.

The book closes with Bruce Palma, General Manager of Co-opportunity penning a chapter about the role of Will Simon as General Manager, followed by a chapter on his own role in bringing the store to its current successful status. Bruce’s chapters are well written, humorous, and full of perceptions and cover perhaps one of the most challenging periods in Co-opportunity’s history. Bruce and Will are to be complemented for the role they played in steadying the co-op for later success.
David Thompson’s caring and crafted overview represents the history of hundreds of other natural food consumer cooperative that appeared in the 1960s and 70s. What a time it was! Only one other book, “Growing With Purpose: Forty Years of Seward Community Cooperative” by Kari Cornell and Patricia Cumbie, has equally documented the untold history of the astounding wave of consumer cooperatives that swept the nation.

With 174 pages, 18 pages of photographs, and lots of history, the book covers the birth of an idea becoming a retail champion.

The book is available through Co-opportunity. The price is $10 plus tax and shipping. Contact Audrey Beim at to order the book. Due to the financial support from Co-opportunity and David J. Thompson, the entire proceeds of the sales of each book will be donated to the Co-opportunity Cooperative Community Fund.

In addition, all other donations to the Co-opportunity Cooperative Community Fund will be matched by a $5,000 donation from Co-opportunity, a $5,000 donation from David J. Thompson, and $1,500 in donations from Frontier Co-op, the National Cooperative Bank, and the Twin Pines Cooperative Foundation. All donations will build the Co-opportunity Cooperative Community Fund endowment Every year; Co-opportunity awards the annual income to local non-profits.

Contact the author: Contact the reviewer: Donna Pizzi:


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