Seward Co-op opened in 1972 on the corner of 22nd and Franklin avenues in Minneapolis. In the beginning, it was run by a core group of volunteers and had a small selection of products with a heavy emphasis on bulk goods. Over the years they grew into one of the largest grocers in Minneapolis. In 2005, the board directed the general manager to plan for a new store expansion at 29th and Franklin avenues. Seward Co-op member-owners invested $1.46 million in the project planning for a new 25,600-square-foot store. Seward Co-op approached Sustology to manage its LEED certification with the aim of meeting its mission to “sustain a healthy community that has: equitable economic relationships; positive environmental impacts; and, inclusive, socially responsible practices."
Sustology managed Seward Co-op’s US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for New Construction certification with state-of-the-art strategies related to site conditions, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality. Upon opening the store in January 2009, sales and membership immediately skyrocketed. In August 2012, Seward Co-op celebrated its fortieth anniversary. In 1972, few people could have imagined it would grow to be the thriving community center and source of healthful food it is today. Starting with a few working volunteer members, Seward Co-op membership has grown to more than 10,000 people. Store sales were $28 million in 2012 and the co-op now employs 220 people. What’s most important, though, is that amidst great success and profitability, the co-op has remained true to its mission, never losing sight of its commitment to its members and the greater community.