New Pioneer Food Co-op

New Pioneer Food Co-op, commonly shortened to New Pi, is a locally owned[1] food cooperative based in Iowa City, Iowa. This city also serves as the headquarters of the National Cooperative Grocers Association. In addition to the Iowa City store, New Pioneer has a location in Coralville, and a third location which opened in Cedar Rapids in 2014.[2] New Pioneer Co-op also includes a production hub in North Liberty, Iowa.

New Pioneer Food Co-op
TypeConsumers' cooperative
Founded1971 (1971)

New Pioneer was founded in 1971 as “a natural foods buying club”[3] modeled after the Rochdale Principles,[4] and is now a full-service bakery, deli, and grocery store. It specializes in local food, organic produce, cage-free antibiotic and hormone-free meat, milk, and poultry. The Co-op's seafood program is certified Sustainable by the Seafood Watch Program from the Monterrey Bay Aquarium. The handmade pastry selection uses local cage free eggs, local butter, and organic flour, and also offers a delicious selection of wheat-free dessert options. All foods sold are restricted to natural additives. The Co-op offers eco-friendly home and healthcare products.[5]

New Pioneer takes its name from the organization that created the cooperative model, the Rochdale Pioneers.[4]

Organizational structureEdit

New Pioneer Food Co-op's three grocery locations, bakehouse and administrative offices[6] are managed by hired staff, and all are overseen by the member-elected Board of Directors.[7]


The current member–owner plan, calling for a one-time $60 investment for membership, was created in July 1982. There is no yearly fee associated with membership.[8] Members receive extra discounts on special days. The stores are open to all shoppers, one does not need to be a member to buy.

In profitable years, New Pioneer’s Board of Directors has the discretion to authorize investment in improvements, distribution of dividends to members proportionate to their purchases, payment of staff bonuses, or donations to non-profit organizations[9] in its community.[7]


New Pioneer is the publisher of Catalyst,[10] a quarterly food magazine that spotlights Iowa farmers and chefs.

History in BriefEdit

1969: Bulk food buying club begins in Iowa City community center[4]

1971: New Pioneer Co-op files legal papers, opens storefront at 518 Bowery Street, Iowa City[11]

1973: New Pioneer Co-op moves to second floor of Vine Building, at Prentiss and Gilbert Streets, Iowa City[12]

1977: Co-op moves into portion of building at 22 S. Van Buren Street, Iowa City[13]

1987: Co-op expands to occupy full building at 22 S. Van Buren Street[14]

1988: Co-op opens unsuccessful store in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, closes in 1991[15]

1994: Bakehouse opens at First Avenue and Fifth Street in Coralville, baking hearth bread[16]

2001: Coralville store opens,[17] struggles financially[18]

2004: Coralville store nearly matches Iowa City store in sales[19]

2005: Co-op free of debt[20]

2007: Iowa City store gets remodel, equipment upgrade[21]

2014: Cedar Rapids store opens.[22]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Original Articles of Incorporation for New Pioneer Cooperative Society". Retrieved 2011-04-16.
  2. ^ "New Pioneer Food Co-op to Open Third Store in Cedar Rapids". KCRG-TV9. 2013-10-01. Archived from the original on 2013-10-04. Retrieved 2013-10-01.
  3. ^ Food for Thought: An Iowa Co-op offers a place to fill minds as well as stomachs” by Jon Anderson, Chicago Tribune, Wednesday 1/16/1991, Tempo section (Cover, Page 2)
  4. ^ a b c "History". Retrieved 2011-04-16.
  5. ^ "Mission and Principles". Retrieved 2011-04-16.
  6. ^ "Hours and Locations". Retrieved 2011-04-16.
  7. ^ a b "Bylaws". Retrieved 2011-04-16.
  8. ^ “New Pioneer: Successful by Working on the Basics” by John Higgins, Cooperative Grocer magazine, issue 1, October–November 1985, page 5-8 (especially 5, paragraph 3)
  9. ^ "Supported Organizations". Retrieved 2011-04-16.
  10. ^ "Catalyst Newsletters". Retrieved 2011-04-16.
  11. ^ “Iowa City’s New Pioneers,” by Mike Whye, The Iowan, Fall 1991, page 68-70
  12. ^ “New Pioneer: Successful by Working on the Basics” by John Higgins, Cooperative Grocer magazine, issue 1, October–November 1985, page 5-8
  13. ^ “Co-op goes mainstream, keeps purpose” by Valoree Armstrong, Iowa City Press Citizen, July 26, 1991, Page 1A,4A
  14. ^ “Fresh food market is a real ‘pioneer’” by Kathy Toborg, The Gazette, Food Section, October 4, 1988, page B1
  15. ^ “New Pioneer Co-op Expands,” by Paul Hazen, Cooperative Business Journal, Sept 15 1988, page 14
  16. ^ "About Our Bread Oven". Retrieved 2011-04-16.
  17. ^ Maclearn, Dennis (2001-02-14). "New Pioneer Opens Coralville Site | Cooperative Grocer". Archived from the original on 2010-09-21. Retrieved 2011-04-16.
  18. ^ “A ‘pretty serious’ financial situation,” by Sara Langenberg, Iowa City Press Citizen, January 7, 2002, page 1A, 7A, “New Pi tackles money trouble: Some staff to take unpaid furloughs,” by Sara Langenberg, Iowa City Press Citizen, 1/31/2002, 1A, 4A
  19. ^ “Treasurer’s Report for the End of FY 04,” by Henry T. Madden, Treasurer. Catalyst, September–October issue, 2004, page 3.
  20. ^ “Good News from the Treasurer,” Catalyst magazine, September–October 2005, page 3.
  21. ^ "May 2007". Archived from the original on 2012-03-16. Retrieved 2011-04-16.
  22. ^ "New Pioneer opens in Cedar Rapids".

Coordinates: 41°39′37.15″N 91°31′42.82″W / 41.6603194°N 91.5285611°W / 41.6603194; -91.5285611