Wedge, Linden Hills Co-ops set to merge without Eastside

More than 80 percent of voters at the Wedge and Linden Hills Co-ops voted in favor of a merger.

The Wedge and Linden Hills Co-ops have voted to merge, while the Eastside Food Co-op has voted against the merger and will remain independent.

Votes to approve consolidation reached 81.9 percent at the Wedge, 87.3 percent at Linden Hills, and 51.3 percent at Eastside. Eastside needed a super-majority (66.66 percent) as required by the state in order to join the merger. Eastside’s voter turnout reached 22 percent of members.

“The consolidation strategy was about building a stronger local food system in the Twin Cities and better serving all our individual neighborhoods,” Amy Fields, Eastside Co-op general manager, said in a statement. “While we’re disappointed with the decision, we will continue to serve our owners and our communities.”

Eastside members elected at least three board candidates who were running on a platform against consolidation. Some expressed concerns about an oversized focus on profits and potential loss of community oversight in a merger.

Those advocating for consolidation said it would improve the bottom line for all of the co-ops.

Wedge and Linden Hills will legally consolidate on June 30, 2017. In the coming months, the two boards will select a consolidated co-op board, followed by the appointment of separate councils dedicated to each store.