New Pioneer Food Co-op

New Pioneer Food Co-op
Consumers' cooperative
Founded 1971 (1971)
Headquarters Iowa City, Iowa, United States
Products Grocery

New Pioneer Food Co-op, commonly shortened to NewPi, is a locally owned[1] food cooperative based in Iowa City, Iowa. This city also serves as the headquarters of the National Cooperative Grocers Association. In addition to the Iowa City store, New Pioneer has a location in Coralville and plans to open a location in Cedar Rapids in early 2015.[2]

New Pioneer was founded in 1971 as “a natural foods buying club”[3] modeled after the Rochdale Principles,[4] and is now a full-service bakery and grocer with two locations in the Iowa City area.[5] It specializes in local food, organic produce, hormone-free seafood, meat and poultry, packaged foods that are free of artificial additives, and eco-friendly home and healthcare products.[6]

New Pioneer takes its name from the organization that created the cooperative model, the Rochdale Pioneers.[4]

Organizational structure

New Pioneer Food Co-op's two grocery locations, bakehouse and administrative offices[7] are managed by hired staff, and all are overseen by the member-elected Board of Directors.[8]


The current member–owner plan, calling for a one-time $60 fee for membership, was created in July 1982.[9] Members avoid paying a 5% surcharge for each purchase and are eligible to receive dividends at the end of each fiscal year.[10]

In profitable years, New Pioneer’s Board of Directors has the discretion to authorize investment in improvements, distribution of dividends to members proportionate to their purchases, payment of staff bonuses, or donations to non-profit organizations[11] in its community.[8]


New Pioneer is the publisher of Catalyst,[12] a quarterly food magazine that spotlights Iowa farmers and chefs. A digital version of the publication, entitled eCatalyst, is released online every month.[13]

History in Brief

1969: Bulk food buying club begins in Iowa City community center[4]

1971: New Pioneer Co-op files legal papers, opens storefront at 518 Bowery Street, Iowa City[14]

1973: New Pioneer Co-op moves to second floor of Vine Building, at Prentiss and Gilbert Streets, Iowa City[15]

1977: Co-op moves into portion of building at 22 S. Van Buren Street, Iowa City[16]

1987: Co-op expands to occupy full building at 22 S. Van Buren Street[17]

1988: Co-op opens unsuccessful store in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, closes in 1991[18]

1994: Bakehouse opens at First Avenue and Fifth Street in Coralville, baking hearth bread[19]

2001: Coralville store opens,[20] struggles financially[21]

2004: Coralville store nearly matches Iowa City store in sales[22]

2005: Co-op free of debt[23]

2007: Iowa City store gets remodel, equipment upgrade[24]

See also


Coordinates: 41°39′37.15″N 91°31′42.82″W / 41.6603194°N 91.5285611°W / 41.6603194; -91.5285611

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