About Us

Welcome to Bethlehem Co-op Market, where community and quality come together. Inspired by the collective vision of a group of passionate neighbors who came together in 2011, we’re redefining what a grocery store can be—we’re a hub for connection, fostering relationships, environmental stewardship, and local empowerment.

With over 1,500 member-owners and growing, we’re dedicated to our mission to bring fresh, healthy, reasonably priced, and locally-sourced food to the heart of north downtown Bethlehem. Experience a market that’s owned by the community, for the community.

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Our Mission

Provide access to healthy, locally sourced, and sustainable food options while fostering a strong sense of community ownership and environmental stewardship. We believe in promoting health, supporting local farmers and producers, and creating a more sustainable food system for future generations.

Our Vision

At Bethlehem Co-op Market, we envision a thriving, resilient community where everyone can access nutritious food. We strive to be a catalyst for positive change, fostering strong relationships with local farmers, producers, and businesses while promoting environmental stewardship and social equity.

Our vision is to create a welcoming space nourishing body and mind, where neighbors come together to shop, learn, and connect. We strive to be a co-op that embraces and empowers our community.

Our Values

  1. Acceptance: We welcome everyone with open arms and respect.
  2. Community: We believe there’s power in working together to achieve common goals and standing together to support each other.
  3. Accessibility: We strive to make nutritious food available to all, regardless of income or background.
  4. Inclusion: We celebrate diversity and ensure all voices are heard.
  5. Equity: We are dedicated to fairness and justice in all our practices.
  6. Empathy: We listen, understand, and respond to the needs of our community.
  7. Education: We provide resources and learning opportunities that empower.
  8. Sustainability: We protect the environment today for a better tomorrow

Our Leadership

Our Leadership

Our board is elected at the annual membership meeting on the first Monday of October. These nine volunteers play an important role in our co-op. On May 1, 2023, Eric Shamis joined the leadership team as the first-ever General Manager.

Eric Shamis
Eric ShamisGM
Carol Ritter
Carol RitterBoard Chair
Todd Mertz
Todd MertzBoard Vice Chair
Deb Fritz
Deb FritzBoard Secretary
Domenic Breininger
Domenic BreiningerBoard Treasurer
Justin Beaver
Justin BeaverBoard Member
Heather Terrible
Heather TerribleBoard Member
Tony Marinho
Tony MarinhoBoard Member
Cindy Glick
Cindy GlickBoard Member
Carol Burns
Carol BurnsBoard Member

FAQs

Bethlehem Co-op Market is a community-owned, full-service grocery store located in the heart of north downtown Bethlehem. We offer fresh, healthy, and locally-sourced food options to our community.

Bethlehem Co-op Market is owned by our 1,500+ member-owners, who are members of the local community. As a co-op, we are democratically controlled and operated for the benefit of our members.

Everyone is welcome to shop at our store, no membership is needed! However, member-owners enjoy exclusive benefits, such as discounts, voting rights, and access to our Member Benefits Program. 

To become a member-owner, you can make a one-time equity share contribution of $300. We also offer payment plans, including 12 monthly payments of $25 or 30 monthly payments of $10. Low-income options are available as well through our Scholarship Program.

There is no additional fee after purchasing your $300 equity-share.

Member-owners enjoy exclusive discounts, gain voting rights to shape our co-op’s future, and access our Member Benefits Program, which offers deals at over 30 Lehigh Valley businesses. When the co-op is profitable, member-owners also receive patronage dividends.

We prioritize sourcing from local farmers and producers, support local businesses through our Member Benefits Program, and invest in community initiatives that promote sustainability, food access, and education. 

We offer a wide variety of fresh, healthy, and locally-sourced food options, including produce, meat, dairy, bulk items, dry grocery, and prepared foods. We also prioritize products that are organic, minimally processed, and ethically produced.

Bethlehem Co-op Market offers a diverse selection to accommodate a range of diets and seeks to carry products that our member-owners want to purchase.

We are excited to announce that Bethlehem Co-op Market will open its doors in 2024! Stay tuned for updates on our grand opening.

We are committed to environmental stewardship and promote sustainability by supporting local farmers, choosing eco-friendly vendors, minimizing food miles, and reducing waste and single-use plastics in our store. 

Yes, we strive to make our store accessible and inclusive to all. We plan to create a Food for All program, accept SNAP/EBT, support alternative transportation, and partner with local organizations to improve access to nutritious food and resources.

Part of our mission to bring reasonably priced food to downtown Bethlehem. We have various ways we are working to keep prices down, such as an everyday value line with little to no markup on core products, working directly with farmers, bulk bins that allow you to buy as little or as much as you need, member-owner specials, discount days, and are creating a Food For All Program that subsidizes fresh produce for low-income families.

Yes, we have a free parking lot (two-hour maximum) equipped with two electric vehicle chargers. We intentionally chose our location because it is along a safe cycling route, a safe walking route, and a bus route. We have bike racks, a crosswalk, and a bus stop at our co-op so we are accessible to all methods of transportation.

At this time, each member household or organization must contribute the same amount of financial equity into the co-op. This ensures that our co-op is equitable. However, we realize that making an equity payment can be challenging for some, so we offer installment payments and a Scholarship Program for low-income individuals. Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns about member-ownership costs.  

Our History

2011: The Red Pepper Story
In October 2011, Jaime Karpovich was preparing a recipe when she realized she was missing one ingredient: a single red pepper. An hour later, she returned from the grocery store and, with a single social media post, connected with 100 people who also dreamed of purchasing fresh food in Bethlehem. The first gathering was held at the Bethlehem Area Public Library, where we decided to start a food co-op.

2012: Cultivating the Vision
Our grassroots movement blossomed. We chose our name – Bethlehem Food Co-Op – and created our logo. We held our first community meetings, formed essential committees, and drafted our mission statement. By year’s end, we had over 100 enthusiastic members ready to nurture this vision into reality.

2013: Laying the Groundwork
We incorporated as a cooperative and launched our official membership drive, hosting our first member-owner gathering at Monocacy Park. Our board attended key conferences, learning from established co-ops. We began exploring potential store locations and developed our first business plan. The co-op community grew to over 300 members.

2014: Building Momentum
Membership surged past 500 as we ramped up community outreach. We conducted our first market study and began serious discussions about store locations. The board focused on governance and policy development, setting a strong foundation for our future store.

2015: Strengthening Our Roots
We hit 600 members and launched our Member Benefits Program, partnering with local businesses. Our committees evolved, focusing on finance, outreach, and education. We began hosting regular educational events, deepening our community connections.

2016: Planning for Growth
With over 700 members, we started serious capital campaign planning. We formed a Real Estate Committee to evaluate potential store locations. Our education programs expanded, offering classes on nutrition, cooking, and sustainable food systems.

2017: Sowing Seeds for the Future
Membership grew to 800+ as we launched our “1000 Members by 2018” campaign. We received our first major grant and began partnerships with local community organizations. Our sourcing committee started building relationships with local producers.

2018: Cultivating Partnerships
We crossed the 900-member mark and secured several significant grants. Partnerships with local organizations flourished, including collaborations with farmers and food banks. We finalized our business plan and intensified our search for the perfect store location.

2019: Selecting our Future Home
Excitement built as we signed a lease for our future store location at 250 E. Broad St. We launched our capital campaign and membership soared past 1,000. Our focus shifted to store design and planning for construction.

2020: Adapting and Thriving
Despite global challenges, we persevered. We hired Simplified Business Solutions, our project management team, with the knowledge and expertise to bring our community-owned grocery store to life. Membership reached 1,200 as our community recognized the importance of local, resilient food systems. We made significant progress on store planning and design.

2021: From Dream to Reality
Membership surpassed 1,300, we launched our Community Investment Fund, and received several major grants. Our partnerships with local producers and community organizations deepened as we prepared for opening.

2022: Building Our Future
With over 1,400 members, we hired key personnel, including our General Manager. We finalized the store layout, selected Aurora Displays for interior design, and finalized our Prepared Foods plan. Our community engagement reached new heights with events, educational programs, and partnerships.

2023: The Final Stretch
Membership crossed 1,400 as excitement built for our impending opening and construction progressed on the building at 250 E. Broad St. Inspired by other co-ops on the West Coast, we decided to feature local art in our store in a big way, creating a 350-square-foot mural as the focal point. We launched our search for a Lehigh Valley muralist to work on our project.

2024: Welcome to Our Store
This is the year we’ve all been waiting for! With over 1,500 member-owners, we launched our “Be A Part of the Art” store-mural campaign with Matt Halm, hired our Marketing & Membership Coordinator, selected Boyle Construction for the interior fit-out of our store, and launched our new brand, Bethlehem Co-op Market. We’re thrilled to open the doors of our community-owned grocery store this year!

The Red Pepper

In October 2011, Jaime Karpovich was preparing a recipe when she realized she was missing one ingredient: a single red pepper. An hour later, she returned from the grocery store and, with a single social media post, connected with 100 people who also dreamed of purchasing fresh food in Bethlehem. The first gathering was held at the Bethlehem Area Public Library, where we decided to start a food co-op.

Cultivating the Vision

Our grassroots movement blossomed. We chose our name – Bethlehem Food Co-Op – and created our logo. We held our first community meetings, formed essential committees, and drafted our mission statement. By year’s end, we had over 100 enthusiastic members ready to nurture this vision into reality.

Laying the Groundwork

We incorporated as a cooperative and launched our official membership drive, hosting our first member-owner gathering at Monocacy Park. Our board attended key conferences, learning from established co-ops. We began exploring potential store locations and developed our first business plan. The co-op community grew to over 300 members.

Building Momentum

Membership surged past 500 as we ramped up community outreach. We conducted our first market study and began serious discussions about store locations. The board focused on governance and policy development, setting a strong foundation for our future store.

Strengthening Our Roots

We hit 600 members and launched our Member Benefits Program, partnering with local businesses. Our committees evolved, focusing on finance, outreach, and education. We began hosting regular educational events, deepening our community connections.

Planning for Growth

With over 700 members, we started serious capital campaign planning. We formed a Real Estate Committee to evaluate potential store locations. Our education programs expanded, offering classes on nutrition, cooking, and sustainable food systems.

Sowing Seeds for the Future

Membership grew to 800 as we launched our “1000 Members by 2018” campaign. We received our first major grant and began partnerships with local community organizations. Our sourcing committee started building relationships with local producers.

Cultivating Partnerships

We crossed the 900-member mark and secured several significant grants. Partnerships with local organizations flourished, including collaborations with farmers and food banks. We finalized our business plan and intensified our search for the perfect store location.

Selecting our Future Home

Excitement built as we signed a lease for our future store location at 250 E. Broad St. We launched our capital campaign and membership soared past 1,000! Our focus shifted to store design and planning for construction.

Adapting and Thriving

Despite global challenges, we persevered. We hired Simplified Business Solutions, our project management team, with the knowledge and expertise to bring our community-owned grocery store to life. Membership reached 1,200 as our community recognized the importance of local, resilient food systems. We made significant progress on store planning and design.

From Dream to Reality

Membership surpassed 1,300, we launched our Community Investment Fund, and received several major grants. Our partnerships with local producers and community organizations deepened as we prepared for opening.

Building Our Future

With over 1,400 members, we hired key personnel, including our General Manager. We finalized the store layout, selected Aurora Displays for interior design, and finalized our Prepared Foods plan. Our community engagement reached new heights with events, educational programs, and partnerships.

The Final Stretch

Membership crossed 1,400 as excitement built for our impending opening and construction progressed on the building at 250 E. Broad St. Inspired by other co-ops on the West Coast, we decided to feature local art in our store in a big way, creating a 350-square-foot mural as the focal point. We launched our search for a Lehigh Valley muralist to work on our project.

Welcome to Our Store

This is the year we’ve all been waiting for! With over 1,500 member-owners, we launched our “Be A Part of the Art” store-mural campaign with Matt Halm, hired our Marketing & Membership Coordinator, selected Boyle Construction for the interior fit-out of our store, and launched our new brand, Bethlehem Co-op Market. We’re thrilled to open the doors of our community-owned grocery store this year!

People browsing co-op market stall
Window being painted with co-op branding

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Co-op market booth with staff and information displays
Group of people outdoors holding up large letters spelling we want our won grocery store