In life, you don’t always get the chance to return the favor. After donating a total of $5,685.55 to San Luis Obispo County area organizations and causes in 2020, SLO’s only community-owned grocery store is saying “thank you” to Slow Money SLO, a local nonprofit that helped the Co-op grow into a thriving marketplace. 

Each Tuesday in March and April 2021, the Co-op will donate 2% of each Tuesday’s total sales to Slow Money SLO, a local network of entrepreneurs, investors, donors and volunteers who support sustainable growth of small food and farm businesses which benefit the local economy and health of SLO County. Earlier this month, SLO Food Co-op presented a check for more than $1,600 to the grocery store’s January-February 2% Tuesday beneficiary, Paso Food Co-op. 

Slow Money SLO Founder and Executive Director Jeff Wade has enjoyed a unique front row seat to SLO Food Co-op’s growth over the past eight years. In 2012, founding members of Slow Money SLO came together to support the SLO Food Co-op and its need to move into a newer, larger location on Victoria Avenue in SLO. 

“This was our first local food support project and we are extremely pleased at how they have grown over the years,” Wade said. “The Co-op is an incredible advocate for local food, offering one of the widest selections of produced, prepared and grown food and beverages from local small enterprises. The cooperative model and their service to the community is inspiring and we look forward to continuing our partnership to grow awareness on the importance of local food consumption.” 

From left, Paso Food Co-op Board Chair Lydia Francis, SLO Food Co-op Communications Coordinator Kasey Main and SLO Food Co-op General Manager Zack Sheppard present a check for more than $1,600 to Paso Food Co-op. SLO Food Co-op donated $5,600+ total to local causes in 2020 and in March and April 2021, the grocery store will donate 2% of each Tuesday’s total sales to early backer Slow Money SLO.

Slow Money SLO participants also helped with in-kind labor to transform the Co-op’s Victoria Avenue location into a full service grocery store, while others joined the Board of Directors in an effort to get the dream off the ground. Nine community lenders were organized to provide direct loans to the Co-op, helping with funding needed for tenant improvements and to purchase large inventory orders needed to fill the shelves. 

“The Co-op likely wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for Slow Money SLO’s incredible support all those years ago,” said SLO Food Co-op General Manager Zack Sheppard. “And this is a testament to their amazing organization, the impact they had on this local business, who is now able to pay it forward, support them in kind, and grow the local economy.” 

“The Co-op has supported and hosted multiple Slow Money SLO events over the years, lending strength to our mission to support the sustainable growth of small food, beverage and farm businesses,” Wade added. “This, in turn, benefits the local food ecosystem and the economic development and health of the SLO County region. SLO Food Co-op is one of our greatest success stories.” 

SLO Food Co-op is currently open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., with the first hour dedicated to high risk shoppers. The team is also happy to shop for customers during regular store hours, Monday through Friday. Just bring your shopping list to a door attendant or cashier and they’ll take care of the rest. 

About SLO Food Co-op 

Located at 2494 Victoria Ave. in San Luis Obispo, SLO Food Co-op is your friendly neighborhood grocer and a proud provider of fresh, local produce and goods. The storefront is proudly owned and operated by our local community members. For more information, go to www.slofood.coop