The Second Kitchen Food Co-op, a cooperative market that opened 10 months ago on Boulder's University Hill, plans to close its doors at the end of June because of financial struggles.
Some members and customers of Second Kitchen hope to change that course. They plan to host a public event from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 25, in front of the market at 904 College Ave. to brainstorm ways to do that.
"Walmart calls (its grocery store concept) a Neighborhood Market, but the Second Kitchen is a neighborhood market," said Jack Meeks, a neighbor and customer of the local market. " ... (The Second Kitchen) is an important community resource."
Facing an impending rent hike in addition to lower-than-expected sales, Second Kitchen's board of directors voted June 17 to close the store Monday, June 30, said Ali Kammerling, Second Kitchen's membership coordinator.
By shuttering the store, the cooperative will have enough money to pay rent for the sublease, return the equity investment to founding members and to pay vendors and staff, Kammerling said.
"We're definitely making moves to close the business with integrity," said Sara Brody, a founder and general manager of Second Kitchen.
The result of that decision was not easy to take.
"I'm heartbroken right now," Brody said. "I did try to work as hard as I could. We tried our best, but we didn't have enough people hand in hand marching forward."
The Second Kitchen Co-op's member base consisted of 215 households, which ranged from one to four people in size, Kammerling said. The business also served about six housing co-ops of 11 to 30 people.
"We're feeding quite a few people," Kammerling said.
The store would need broader community support to survive and thrive, Brody said.
The aim of starting a cooperative around local food — especially one in a city with a crowded field of larger-format grocers — was that the members were not only supporting the community as a whole, but also supporting small, local producers, she said.
"I hope that Boulder will be able to have a co-op," Brody said. "We're all holding on as a community right now, and it's sad. It's sad what's going on.
"I want people to feel like we can come together as a community to make change, but that takes work. It just does."
Prior to the Second Kitchen, the last cooperative market to operate in the city was the Boulder Co-op Market, which closed in 2007 and subsequently filed for bankruptcy.
Boulder County's longest operating co-op is the Mountain People's Co-op in Nederland, which opened in 1979.