In 1973, a small group of pioneering people established a buying club to obtain fresh, wholesome food at fair prices. What was once a back porch operation run solely by dedicated volunteers has evolved into a $16 million, 9000 square foot cooperative business serving the Traverse City community and beyond.
While business operations have certainly changed, for example, we no longer write all the bulk items on a chalkboard (there are too many, over 500!), nor do we have board meetings in the General Manager's sauna, our mission remains true to our roots: To provide high quality food produced in ecologically sound ways at fair value to member owners and the community.
Though Oryana has had its share of ups and downs over its history, today we are thriving thanks to the initial seeds sown by that small group of founding mothers and fathers who had the vision and perseverance to establish a healthy alternative to the mainstream food market of the early '70s. Forty plus years is no small feat, especially in an era when many cooperatives have fallen by the wayside.
Certified Organic Retailer
Oryana was the first co-op in the country to become a "Certified Organic" retailer back in 2002. It demonstrates Oryana's long-standing commitment to the importance of certified organic food. Being a "Certified Organic" retailer does NOT mean that everything in our store is organic, but DOES mean that we provide a level of assurance to our customers that the integrity of the organic products you purchase is protected from the farm to your shopping cart. To be certified we must comply with strict USDA rules that include storewide and departmental procedures, staff trainings, a filtered water supply, proper storage and handling of organic foods, and a paper trail of third party certifications to name just a few. Recertification is done on a yearly basis.
Late 1970s Harvest Banquet crew
General Manager Mike Williams at Randolph Street store, 1980