Sevananda is Atlanta’s original natural food store. And right from our opening day back in 1974, our mission has been to offer our customers food — as well as supplements, vitamins, herbs, even pet food —you can trust: where it’s from, how it’s grown, and what’s in it. That’s food integrity. Scroll down to find out more about food integrity at Sevananda, our 35+ year history, our unique cooperative business model and more. Enjoy.
Sevananda Natural Foods Market is more than just a place to buy groceries. It is a business owned and operated by its Members. Being a consumer-owned co-operative affects the products we sell, the way we conduct business and how we support our community. That means the Member Owners of Sevananda have a voice in all that we do. Along with employees and the board of directors Sevananda Natural Foods Market promotes sustainability and living on this earth with the least amount of impact.
How do we do this? First, we have been supporting local farmers and businesses for 33 years by selling local products. This includes everything from seasonal organic produce and natural groceries to health and wellness products. An on-going campaign with Georgia Organics promotes buying local, working with local farmers to supply our Member Owners and shoppers with fresh, organic produce grown within 200 miles of our store. By supporting local businesses we are cutting down on the amount of fuel used in the transportation of products and decreasing our impact on the planet while keeping more dollars in our community.
Second, we have integrated many green practices into our store facility. Within the past 5 years, Sevananda has been repainted with Low VOC paint which cuts down the emissions of harmful toxins and sustains a healthier environment. We also recycle cardboard, plastic, glass and office paper.
Third, Sevananda Natural Foods Market is the only natural foods market that contributes back to the energy grid. We have 24 solar panels installed on the roof of our building that provide an annual reduction of 5% in our energy consumption. That might not sound like a lot, but for a 29,000 square foot facility any decrease in impact is positive.
Finally, Sevananda Natural Foods Market avoids purchasing from companies that disregard human rights and environmental health. We give preference to local suppliers, producers, and growers, and those who demonstrate humane and non-exploitative business practices. We also exclude products containing artificial chemicals and genetically-engineered or irradiated foods. We exclude from our human product line all animal products or by-products for which the animal must be slaughtered, including beef, fowl, and fish. We also exclude soaps and cosmetics that have been developed using cruel and abusive animal laboratory tests.
The Sevananda Mission
Our Mission is to empower the community to improve its health and well-being.
The (Not So) Brief History Of Sevananda Co-op
Sevananda Natural Foods Market began as a small group of like-minded folks searching for a way to buy whole and organic foods in bulk. They would order 50lb bags of rice and flour and other items and share the cost amongst all. This original location was called The Egg and the Lotus and was located in a small storefront near Emory University.
In 1974, Sevananda incorporated as a not-for-profit corporation and one year later, Sevananda moved to Moreland Avenue in the heart of Little 5 Points (where B.O.N.D. Credit Union is now) in Atlanta. Although still a not-for-profit business Sevananda had Members who paid a yearly fee, received profits of the business in the form of point-of-purchase discounts, and acquired the right to vote in Board of Directors elections, bylaw changes, and product policy. In 1980 the store’s focus shifted towards a more community-oriented way of doing business and by 1984, community support and need for Sevananda was so strong that the co-op moved down the street to a larger building at 1111 Euclid Avenue in L5P.
Since Sevananda operated as a not-for-profit and the Membership and board wanted to move to a more cooperative business and keep the monies in their community, Sevananda finally became a true and legal cooperative on January 1, 1995. We are actually incorporated under Wisconsin law, since the current statutes of Georgia do not provide for consumer cooperatives like us. A Consumer Cooperative is an organization made up of Member Owners who purchase shares in the business, use its services and own it equally. One Member, One Share.
Fifteen years later in 1999 there was another move back to Moreland Avenue to our current location. Doing so gave us more parking spaces, more than one restroom (at last!) space for an Education Room where classes are taught year-round, and today Sevananda is one of the largest natural foods cooperatives in the southeastern United States.
In recent years, we have grown with the rapidly expanding natural foods industry. Currently, the cooperative has over 3,400 owners and serves many other (future Member) shoppers as well. Member Owners of Sevananda buy one Full Class A Share (consisting of six individual shares) in the co-op. The cost is $120, payable in $20 increments. Members of the co-op can run for the Board, vote in Board elections and receive a portion of store profits in the form of an annual patronage refund (in a profitable year and as determined by the Board) and even participate in the Working Members program. There are also Member responsibilities for all, such as shopping the co-op, and being an informed owner and participating in annual elections.
Sevananda has been transformed from a small-but-spirited enterprise where shoppers made their own change from a cigar box to a multi-million dollar natural foods supermarket. We offer customers the highest quality products available while playing a vital part in Atlanta’s natural foods community. However, Sevananda is more than just a place to buy groceries. It is a business owned, used, and operated by its Members. This affects everything from the products we sell to the way we conduct business. It’s where food you can believe in lives.Triple Bottom Line