For a long time, Oryana Community Co-op has been the community’s go-to place for healthy, locally sourced food. Today, it continues growing, all to better offer Traverse City good and responsible options.
The co-op was initially founded in 1973, in which bulk amounts of food would be brought from downstate and divided out in someone’s kitchen. But ever since 1996, it’s been a store that everyone can enjoy.
Oryana, as a co-op, enjoys a different kind of business set-up. Instead of being owned by investors, the shares are owned by individual residents, and no one owner has more shares of the company than another. Owners live all across the country, and even internationally, but they all spend time in the Northern Michigan area. There are currently 7,200 owners, all with equal voting rights.
As Traverse City has grown, Oryana has also seen incredible growth. In 2006, the co-op expanded its building in a former lumber store on Tenth Street in Traverse City, doubling the size. A year and a half ago, Oryana Refreshed was finished, a project which remodeled and upgraded essentially the entire store. Capital was put into new cashier lanes, new shelving, and expanding options in various sections like meats and cheeses. Oryana also added 800 square feet to its cafe, allowing customers a more comfortable space to enjoy their food. It’s made an amazing impact on the business, as its 2016 sales totaled $17 million!
Oryana has long been focused on what it means to be a part of the community, and part of this has been evidenced in their engagement with the Chamber. In 2014, Oryana was named the Hagerty Small Business of the Year, an award that General Manager Steve Nance says exemplifies Oryana’s goal to do more good in the area.
“Being a cooperative business allows you to reinvest in the community, and the Chamber has worked to find more avenues to do so for us and others,” he says. “At Oryana, we are always focused on our ‘ends’, which is essentially our mission to provide for the community as best as we can.”
Oryana balances the need for growth and increased commerce with the strong desire to protect the beautiful ecological area of Northern Michigan. Nance is happy to say he believes this is a common goal with businesses in the area. “The chamber, the board, and members collectively focus on our unique region, and are supportive of commerce, but also cognizant of the unique jewel of our area. As a business that cares about social justice and ecology, it is important to us that the Chamber also supports those causes.”
Learn more about this amazing Chamber member by visiting its website at http://www.oryana.coop/
-By Clara Trippe