The co-op hopes to develop a member-owned grocery store in North County

PASO ROBLES — The Paso Food Co-Op is celebrating National Co-Op Month in October with a Member Drive Contest starting Wednesday, Sept. 28, and running through the end of October. 

Signs will be placed in a variety of places in north SLO County. Take a photo of yourself with a sign and tag them on your social media @pasofoodcoop or #pasofoodcoop, and your name will be entered for the contest. On Tuesday, Nov. 1, a name will be randomly drawn on their Facebook live. The winner will receive a full membership, T-shirt, and ‘Proud Member’ yard sign. If you are already a member, you can gift your prize. 

The Paso Food Co-Op is an initiative that started in 2013 with the goal of opening a member-owned grocery store in North County. Board President and Member-Owner Lydia Francis explains the co-op is currently in the process of building memberships to build the capital needed to open the co-op. They have estimated a need for 500 memberships to begin shopping for a location and are only 194 memberships away from that goal as of Monday, Sept. 26.

While a location has not been decided on yet, preliminary research has the co-op leaning towards the Highway 101 corridor.

Their website describes the co-op as “a team of locals on track to start a community-supported food market in Paso Robles. The market will use a ‘cooperative’ business model (hence the term ‘co-op’) that’s been around for over a century.”

Francis describes their vision for the co-op as a traditional grocery store with profits going back towards the local community. Each year, members make a decision to place profits towards a local nonprofit or back towards the co-op members. 

Within the co-op store, Francis said, will be an emphasis on carrying local goods and products along with everyday household needs. Additionally, she says they have ideas for adding a commercial kitchen. Even though the co-op is member-owned, anyone will be permitted to shop there.

Francis says she joined the co-op for her grandchildren as a way to support their future.

The co-op holds monthly meetings every fourth Wednesday from 6 to 7 p.m. at Esteemed Eagle Lodge at 2247 Oak Street.

For more information on the co-op, visit