Purple Porch Co-op
Location: 123 N. Hill St., South Bend
History/Mission: Located in the heart of South Bend, Purple Porch Co-op is a quirky little grocery store with a big mission of connecting local food producers with consumers. A cooperative business model (or “co-op”) is a model built on democratic principles with the goal of serving its member-owners. Those with a membership select a board to govern the company and oversee the general manager of the store. Becoming a member-owner is simple: a one-time, $200 payment grants you access not only to member discounts in the store, but also to member voting rights. With this business model in mind as a way to best serve their mission, Purple Porch was founded in 2009. It began as a two hours per week farmers market. Food producers went online to post what they had to sell, and customers selected what they needed for the week. They then picked up their selections during a two hour window at a designated site. After a vote from the members, the business expanded four years ago to be a full service grocery store and café. Purple Porch focuses on sourcing food produced within 60 miles of the store, but it also brings in fair-trade and organic foods from other regions where necessary. The kitchen in the back makes delicious food from scratch with local ingredients, sold at their salad bar and “hot bar.” When asked what’s on the horizon, general manager Myles Robertson emphasized the organization’s commitment to serving its members, saying things can shift as demands from their membership shifts. He’s focusing on improving all the operations Purple Porch currently spearheads, including a farmers market on the weekends, Octoberfest in the fall, and providing quality prepared food in their kitchen. Purple Porch is a hub for community activity, dedicated to helping out other small businesses and growers in Michiana.
Get Involved: While you certainly could consider becoming a member, there are tons of other ways to get good local food and support Purple Porch. Stop by to browse their produce, meats, and groceries. Snag some lunch from the hot bar-it’s relatively inexpensive, super high quality, homemade food- and hang out while you’re studying. Check out their website for upcoming events, usually featuring good eats and music from local bands.
Contact: Myles Robertson | 574-28-PORCH (76724) | http://www.purpleporch.coop/