Lakewinds Food Co-op is a full-service cooperative grocery, serving the western suburbs for almost 40 years. Current locations include Minnetonka and Chanhassen, to be joined by the new co-op in Richfield in June of 2014. The soul and strength of the co-op has always been the people involved, and Lakewinds has enjoyed a high level of commitment from everyone: owners, staff, board and the community at large. Lakewinds is a proud past recipient of the “Retailer of the Year” award from the Consumer Cooperative Managers Association.
Community Roots: 1972-1989
Lakewinds began when Edie Green, Helen Davis and Edith Stodola founded the Minnetonka Buying Club in 1972. The club set up bulk bins, scoop, and even a self-serve cheese cutting station on Edie’s front porch. The club eventually moved to the basement of Helen’s Glen Lake home. Volunteers stocked as many natural food items as they could find. Helen provided organically grown produce from her garden and fresh eggs from her hens. The members loved buying food from “people they could trust." The club moved twice more before settling into the famous “Red Shack” behind St. Luke Church in 1975, the same year the co-op officially formed. The co-op outgrew the shack by 1983 and moved to a small building at Minnetonka Boulevard and Groveland School Road. In 1989, continued growth drove another move across the street (where the hardware store is now). That year the name was changed to Lakewinds Natural Foods.
The “Corner Store”: 1995
Lakewinds moved to the corner location on Highway 101 and Minnetonka Boulevard in 1995, allowing us to grow into one of the largest natural food cooperatives in the Midwest. In 1998, we added Lakewinds Natural Home a few doors down to provide our customers with green home products and fair trade gifts. This store closed in 2006, and its products were moved into the Minnetonka and Chanhassen stores.
Partnership with Anoka: 2003-2010
Lakewinds and the Anoka Co-op Grocery and Café in downtown Anoka entered a merger in 2003. This store had been part of its community for over 25 years, but struggled. After helping get the co-op back on its feet, a local group approached the Board of Directors about returning the co-op to the Anoka community. In 2010, Grass Roots Co-op purchased the Lakewinds’ Anoka store, with Lakewinds’ full support.
Current Stores: 2007-Present
With the Minnetonka store a major success, Lakewinds sought another location. A 13,000-square-foot store in Chanhassen opened its doors on December 10, 2005. Just as construction started in Chanhassen, the long-desired Supervalu building west of the Minnetonka store became available. While opening two stores simultaneously was daunting, the Minnetonka opportunity was too good to pass up. The new 14,000-square-foot Minnetonka store opened January 12, 2006. Both stores were designed using environmentally responsible and sustainable products. Chanhassen features solar panels on the roof and an artisan bakery, and Minnetonka features a wood-burning pizza oven.
2014 will see the success of Lakewinds grow again, along with a name change. With the opening of the Richfield store in June, we will become Lakewinds Food Co-op, accurately reflecting who we are, what we sell, and how we function as a community owned and operated business. Lakewinds continues to lead in the Twin Cities as a thriving co-op.