The Wedge started in a backyard meeting just a few blocks from the current location of our Lyndale store. In 1974, a small group of community members decided it was time to have access to affordable, organic, whole foods without having to drive or take a bus for miles out of the Whittier neighborhood. And from the day we opened our doors in the tiny space of a garden apartment at 715 Franklin Ave, the Wedge Co-op community has been growing (and outgrowing) our spaces. Back then, buckets of fresh produce spilled out onto the sidewalks to make room for the lines in the small storefront. Since then, we’ve moved two times and expanded three, started an organic distribution business, and built a café and community gathering space.
But through all the years and all the changes one thing has remained a constant: our commitment to the long-term health of our local community. Through partnerships and grants we’ve built community gardens, supported farmer’s markets, gotten local produce into public schools and supported to food justice organizations in the Twin Cities. The Wedge is more than just a cooperative business, we’re a family.
Linden Hills Co-op began in 1976 with $387 in the bank and a passionate group of volunteers who had a vision for how a co-op could build community. Over the next decade, the store would continue to outgrow its space, seek community contributions to support its growth and provide member benefits in return for volunteer hours.
With larger space and higher sales in the mid-1990s, the co-op was able to turn its focus to supporting a community that helped it grow from humble beginnings. The green patch program, introduced in 1996, rewarded members for bringing their own bags by giving them the option to donate 5 cents for each reused bag to a local environmental charity. In 1999, the co-op introduced a carnival as a fundraiser for Joyce Food Shelf.
In 2005, the co-op opened a second branch of its business–Linden Hills Natural Home. The store had a variety of natural home needs from gardening tools to cleaning supplies. At one point, the store also sold electric cars!
In 2010, the co-op moved to its current location on Sunnyside Avenue. And in 2017, the Wedge and Linden Hills Co-op came together in a historic, cooperative consolidation to form Twin Cities Co-op Partners.
Throughout all the changes, the values and mission of Linden Hills Co-op has sustained because of the owners and employees who remain committed to community and building collaboration.
In 2016, after two years of study, evaluation, and several months of discussion with members, the board of directors of Wedge Community Co-op and Linden Hills Community Cooperative proposed a consolidation of these two business entities into one single cooperative. The consolidation was put in the election ballot and voted upon by the owners of Wedge and Linden Hills that October. Owners at both co-ops voted overwhelmingly in favor (80%+) of the consolidation. On July 1, 2017 the consolidation of Wedge and Linden Hills Co-op became official. We have continually worked together on the journey of creating a new organization- with the goal of maintaining the individuality of each store while creating a greater whole for the organization.