Green Top Grocery | WGLT

Green Top Grocery

Christa and Michael
Ryan Denham / WGLT

A “Big Lebowski” promotion at Green Top Grocery was meant to make customers smile and maybe buy some milk. Instead, it’s gone viral and spawned two spinoff events this weekend.

Niall Kennedy / Licensed under Creative Commons

We think of chocolate as an unalloyed good. People rhapsodize over it. They say they would sooner go without, well, many things, than chocolate. Some even call it a religious experience.

Interior of Green Top
Jeff Smudde / WGLT

With a successful fundraising campaign keeping the doors open, Green Top Grocery will turn its attention to the busy holiday season.

Facing Debt, Green Top Grocery Asks Owners For Help

Sep 17, 2018
Customers and staff outside Green Top with produce
Jeff Smudde / WGLT

Green Top Grocery must raise at least $300,000 this fall or risk closing its doors.

Traffic light on Front Street
Eric Stock / WGLT

Bloomington aldermen have put a request for a new type of liquor license on ice over concerns the proposal was too broad.

Green Top Grocery beer cooler
Eric Stock / WGLT

Green Top Grocery is asking the Bloomington City Council to create a new liquor license qualification that would enable customers who buy packaged beer or wine to drink on site.

Green Top Grocery owners look at their new store
Ryan Denham / WGLT

Green Top Grocery has hired a new general manager as the co-op continues its turnaround effort.

Ryan Denham / WGLT

There are signs of trouble for a new grocery store cooperative in Bloomington.

Judith Valente / WGLT

GLT is reporting this week on why west Bloomington is a food desert and how different community organizations are working to fill the gap. This is part three in the series.

For many west Bloomington families, putting food on the table isn’t a necessity. Too often it’s a choice.

Green Top Tries To Reach Lower-Income Customers

Feb 6, 2018
Judith Valente / WGLT

GLT is reporting this week on why west Bloomington is a food desert and how different community organizations are working to fill the gap. This is part two in the series.

Green Top Grocery is lowering prices on produce and other staples and trying a variety of other strategies to reach more lower-income customers from Bloomington's west side.

Why Is West Bloomington A Food Desert?

Feb 5, 2018
Judith Valente / WGLT

There’s an acre and a half of land adjacent to Sunnyside Park on the west side of Bloomington that, come summer, will transform into plots of garden-grown vegetables. Colleen Connelly, one of the garden's curators, surveys the scene.

Green Top Grocery owners look at their new store
Ryan Denham / WGLT

It took five years of community meetings, fundraising, and planning to open Bloomington’s first grocery store cooperative. Seven months since opening day, the work still isn’t over.

3 shoppers look at products
Ryan Denham / WGLT

The first thing you notice when you walk in the new Green Top Grocery store in Bloomington is just now normal it looks.

Green Top Grocery / Facebook

Greentop Grocery says it has all the money it needs in member loans to guarantee bank financing of the project on Washington Street in Bloomington.

The Co-Op raised 120,000 dollars in the last ten days.

Green Top Grocery / Facebook

Another appeal for loans is going out to owners of the $3.6 million grocery store co-op being constructed at 921 E. Washington Street in Bloomington.

Green Top Grocery had secured $1.3 million in owner loans through two campaigns late in 2015 and earlier this year. But a $300,000 gap remained between the amount raised through owner and bank loans and construction costs.

Workbench/Green Top Grocery

Bloomington-Normal's start-up food co-op Green Top Grocery has set a construction timeline.

Expect to see earth-moving equipment on the site at 921 E. Washington Street in Bloomington beginning in July. General Manager Michael Pennington says most of the work then will be installing underground utilities with the bulk of construction occurring late in the year.

Workbench/Green Top Grocery

Bloomington's Greentop Grocery has been approved for a $1.5 million loan. National Cooperative Bank (NCB) and Shared Capital specialize in working with coops.

Workbench/Green Top Grocery

Enough funds from an owner loan campaign have come in to ensure ground will be broken on Green Top Grocery's planned store on East Washington street in Bloomington this spring.

That's according to the grocery co-op's board president, Melanie Shellito. She told WGLT News the campaign remains short of the $1.5 million goal the day after the deadline, but she said more than 150 new owners have come on board in the last few days to raise the owner total to 1,150.

Green Top Grocery Co-op

Bloomington-Normal's start-up grocery store co-op has picked a veteran from nearby Champaign-Urbana to manage its store.

Michael Pennington spent the past five years as stocker, IT director and interim manager at Common Ground Food Co-op. He says he's impressed with the wide diversity of owners at Green Top.

"Not just individuals, but families, farmers, businesses and households, " Pennington said. "They want a change in their local food system."

Workbench/Green Top Grocery

The organizers of what would be the community’s first co-op grocery story, Green Top Grocery, has to raise a total of $600,000 by February 29th. The organization still has about $450,000 to go. During GLT's Sound Ideas, Green Top Grocery Board Chair Melanie Shellito told Mike McCurdy, owner loans are continuing to come in at a steady pace.

Green Top Marks Milestones

Feb 1, 2016
Alexander Bazevanis / Facebook via Creative Commons

A thousand people are now owners of Bloomington's proposed "Green Top Grocery," and the co-op has raised over $900,000 this fall. That's the good news for the community grocery with an accent on local foods, and filling an existing food desert. Green Top spokesman Katie Novak says now the group needs to come up with $600,000. "If we don't raise the amount of money we need this spring, we'll have to turn back all of the funds we've raised so far to the owners who've given it to us.