Sweet Onion Co-op to open within 18 months

Molly Smith

The Daily Market Co-op, formerly the Sweet Onion Co-op, was formed four years ago with a grant from the Associated Students of Whitman College (ASWC). Since then it has become a community owned, democratically run food co-op that operates as a buying club. The buying club offers a wide range of natural, organic, fair-trade and locally grown foods, which can be purchased at the Daily Market’s office at the Cinderella House (508 East Main Street), every Monday through Friday from 1 to 5 p.m.

The Co-op has recently changed its membership structure. While members once paid a yearly fee, they will now purchase a share in the Co-op. A share costs $150 and is payable in installments. It is also refundable because students are able to sell their shares back when they leave Walla Walla.

The main reason behind this change is that the Co-op is pushing to open a full-service community grocery store that is owned by the people who shop there. “The vision for the Co-op is and always has been to become a full-fledged store,” said senior Kari Martin.

Last year the Co-op received a grant to do a feasibility study in the community and found that it would be quite possible to open a successful cooperative grocery store in Walla Walla. “The majority of Co-op members and volunteers are from the community,” said senior Alice Bagley.

“The aim of the Daily Market is to fulfill the needs of our members,” said Bagley, “and we really want to focus on creating a local food system in which food grown in Walla Walla is eaten by the people of Walla Walla.” One of the goals of the store is to have a much larger selection of locally grown foods.

The plan for the Daily Market Co-op is to open within the next year and a half. However, this depends of the support of its members.

“The sooner we get lots of members, the sooner that we can open,” said Bagley.

The Co-op welcomes everyone to attend its Membership Kickoff event on Thursday, Sept. 20. The hour-long event will be held at Verve. Drinks and snacks, all of which can be purchased through the Co-op, will be available starting at 7 p.m. At 7:30 p.m. there will be a presentation about the current state of the Daily Market and its goals for the future.

“We want to pack the Verve with people who are interested in the Co-op, people who have already been involved with the Co-op and people who have never heard of it,” said Martin.

“We want people to get together and eat good food together,” Bagley said. “We’re really all about eating good food all of the time.”