Outpost Natural Foods Co-op (Bayview)

Since 1970, Outpost Natural Foods has been supplying the metro Milwaukee community with quality, delicious and healthy natural and organic foods.

Starting out with a store about the size of a large home, Outpost now serves its more than 13,300 owners from three locations: 100 East Capitol Drive and 2826 South Kinnickinnic in Milwaukee, and 7000 West State Street in Wauwatosa. It employs nearly 350 people and is a part of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1444. We also publish a free monthly health and wellness magazine, the Exchange, that reaches over 40,000 readers in the greater Milwaukee area, and The Natural Choice Directory, a guide to green living and holistic health care in Southeastern Wisconsin.

Outpost's business innovations and concern for the community have earned it numerous awards - everything from Cooperative of the Year in 1998 from the National Cooperative Business Association, to Milwaukee Magazine's "Best Of." Outpost also earned the distinction of being recognized as a 2005 Top Ten Small Business in Southeastern Wisconsin by the Waukesha County Chamber of Commerce and Small Business Times magazine. Additionally, Pam Mehnert, General Manager (CEO) of Outpost accepted a Women of Influence 2000 Award from the Business Journal for her behind the scenes work during her 19+ years of employment (at that time) at Outpost Natural Foods Co-op. The Milwaukee Green Building Alliance also recognized Outpost as a leader in advancing green design practices with a special award during our grand opening of the Wauwatosa store. In summer '06, Outpost earned the Governor's Award for Excellence in Energy Efficiency, and we have recently partnered with We Energies of Wisconsin to help promote their Energy For Tomorrow program. Since 1999, Outpost has purchased alternative sources of energy and was the first commercial consumer in Wisconsin.

Like all co-ops, Outpost Natural Foods connects to the community by developing give back programs. Through Operation Community, Outpost donates 1% of Wednesday sales to a different non-profit organization each month. In addition, we sponsor a warm winter clothing drive to help keep kids warm, conduct a summer food drive, and coordinate our annual Buy a Bag for the Hungry program in November and December. In 2005 the amount approached $80,000. Now, we are happy to be a part of the Give Where You Live program with the Outpost Cooperative Community Fund. With the earned interest, Outpost will cover the cost of organic certification for Wisconsin farmers.

We've come a long way from our beginnings in the early 70s, but some things remain the same. Things like our vital cooperative business structure, our commitment to being a locally owned grocer with delicious, quality, local, natural and organic foods and our commitment to sustaining this Earth we all call home.