We love our local suppliers!

The Kootenay Co-op currently partners with over 140 True Local Suppliers across our many departments, and some of our largest suppliers are True Local!

The Kootenay Co-op has a long history of true partnership with local vendors that goes back to our inception in 1975 and we are excited to build on that commitment as we expand our co-operative business. We are forecasting that our sales will almost double in the next 5 years!  We affirm to our members and community that we will only consider ourselves successful in our growth if our local suppliers have every opportunity to grow with us.

“Purchasing from True Local suppliers is an investment in the future of our food security and the economy of the area that immediately surrounds us. Every effort will be made to support agricultural and food processing initiatives in our area that are in line with our Buying Guidelines and values.”*
-*Kootenay Co-op Buying Guidelines, July 2013

What is True Local?

We launched our “True Local” campaign in June 2013 in response to the CFIA broadening the definition of local to include anything in the province and 50 km’s beyond provincial boundaries.  True Local designates products made or grown within 100 miles of our store, and we consider the following area “True Local”:

  • West to Grand Forks and Midway
  • East to the Creston Valley and the East Kootenays to Invermere and Fernie
  • North West to Nakusp including Arrow Lakes region
  • North East including Kaslo, Meadow Creek, Trout Lake, Argenta and Johnson’s Landing
  • South to the US border

What we look for in True Local products:

Our store’s buying practices are guided by our Buying Committee, a team of Co-op staff who interpret our Mission, Vision, and Values to put products on the shelf. We choose products that are healthy for our bodies, our communities, and the Earth and that meet the needs of our members.

In our produce department, we seek exclusively transitional or certified organic produce. Across other departments we favour organic, fair trade and non-gmo products when feasible and available. Learn more about our buying guidelines here, and do not hesitate to ask us if you have questions. One of the reasons we have some flexibility in our guidelines is to try to help local businesses succeed.

Grocery and Wellness products that are in retail-ready, regulatory-compliant packaging are fantastic. If you are not sure, let us know and we may be able to help you get there.

When considering new products, we also consider projected customer demand, and we seek prices that will be sustainable for our store, for shoppers and for the supplier.

What True Local Suppliers can expect from us:

  • We favour local suppliers who align with our buying guidelines, and we go out of our way to help them succeed in our store! This is one of our core values!
  • A partnership with open and honest communication
  • A subsidized advertising and marketing program
  • A dedicated True Local Coordinator who serves as a liason and advocate for suppliers and the program
  • Business advice and mentoring and/or connection to appropriate resources
  • Sales reports and estimates on potential purchasing you can use in your business plan
  • Local supplier events and celebrations
  • We will cultivate a healthy local market for suppliers by engaging and educating our staff and community members about the benefits of supporting local businesses

Interested in becoming a True Local Supplier?

Starting up a new business, and interested in vending at the Co-op? Business planning can be both exciting and daunting.  We will help with any advice we can!

Have a great product and would like to introduce it to the Co-op? We would love to hear about it!

Please contact us for more information about becoming a True Local Supplier!