This newsletter is a newsletter for and about the cooperative community.  Manitoba Cooperative Association publishes monthly.  If you have any story ideas or something you think the community should know, please feel free to email us at




Innovative cooperative stories - Bodegoes Restaurant Workers Pool

If someone had told Bryson Maternick when he opened his first restaurant in Winnipeg in 2001 that 15 years later he would be at the helm of a cooperative managing several fast-casual outlets, he wouldn't have believed it. "Although I had studied economics and had a vague idea of what co-ops were, I was always under the impression that it was a stronger economic model within the agricultural sector and not the restaurant industry."
However, the transition came about gradually, almost organically. "Little by little, we began being more aware of our customers needs and their health and well being, we became concerned with the growing environmental wastefulness in the take-out food industry, and we struggled to find ways to create a sustainable living wage in a highly competitive corporately dominated landscape..."

In 2009, after the departure of his associate, Bryson Maternick decided to give the three restaurants he owned a name that was more aligned with his vision, and Bodegoes was born. The name is a nod to a traditional corner store "bodegas", or local community grocery stores. "When I thought about all that, I wondered: Why stop at just a brand change? Because ultimately, this was an opportunity to offer the restaurants management team an opportunity of ownership through a cooperative business approach that closely mirrored our company’s present day values. And once I saw that, it suddenly made a lot of sense and that began the process of succeeding the company from a corporate business platform to a cooperative."

"We decided on a worker cooperative business model and incorporated under the name Bodegoes Restaurant Workers Pool Ltd.  The team's founding members loved the Pool aspect of the name, which we felt strengthened our core beliefs and signified the shared idea of pooling our resources together in order to support and meet the changing needs of each restaurant business entity. In the end the business model that we are creating gives autonomy to the business owner at the same time creating a cooperative brand service platform that is mandated and collectively owned by each pool member restaurant entrepreneur."

In 2013, Bodegoes Restaurant Workers Pool Ltd was launched with five founding members including the original corporation, charged with overseeing all the administrative and brand logistics. "In 2014 we immediately proposed that one of our partners and neighbours in the Exchange District join us: Cake-ology, which already supplied the restaurants with all of our desserts. We decided that we could work together as a team in an effort to make the small bakery more economically viable as this would allow them to focus on expanding the creative part of the bakery to support the bottom line as well as continue supplying the restaurants with their magnificent desserts. The project came full circle."

It's a circle that continues to grow, given that two other partners are currently in the two-year integration process that will ultimately make them full-fledged pool members. "We are very proud of this, because it's exactly what we wanted when we decided to become a co-op: to enable other small "seeds" to flourish under the Bodegoes umbrella," says Bryson Maternick with a smile.

Click here to read the full story.

News from our members

Federated Co-operatives is celebrating Canada 150 with $2 million in donations to communities.  

Donations totaling $2 million from the Co-op Community Spaces Program will support 27 community-based recreation, conservation and urban agriculture projects across British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

"With increased funding in 2017, Co-op Community Spaces will reach more organizations and communities in a single year than ever before," said Vic Huard, Executive Vice-President of Strategy with Federated Co-operatives Limited, which administers the program on behalf of the more than 190 independent retail co-operatives that form the Co-operative Retailing System in Western Canada.

"For generations, Co-op has invested in Western Canadian communities and we’re proud to continue that tradition through this innovative program, which is empowering local organizations, fostering community and enriching the places we call home."

Since launching in 2015, Co-op Community Spaces has provided $4.5 million to more than 60 projects, including parks, community gardens and sports fields. Each is operated by a registered non-profit, charity or community service co-operative.

The 2017 Co-op Community Spaces projects include a waterfront park in Port Alberni, B.C, an outdoor athletic facility in Grande Prairie, Alta., a winter recreation hill in Saskatoon, Sask. and an educational farm in Brandon, Man.

Complete details about all of this year’s recipients are available at

Co-op tidbits

Since you're subscribed to our newsletter, you probably already know about the Manitoba Cooperative Association but we've put together a little "Year in Review".  Click here to learn more about what we've been up to in the last 12 months.


Save the date

MCA'S annual awards banquet will take place this year on Wednesday, October 18 at the Norwood Hotel.  Tickets are $75 each or a table for 8 is $550.  Please send us an email if you'd like to order or call us at 204-297-8737.
The Canadian CED Network (CCEDNet) will once again be hosting the Gathering, an opportunity to network and learn from other community minded individuals.  This year's theme is Thriving Together:  Building Our Shared Future and it will be held on October 20.  The location is still to be announced.  Click here for more information. 



The SPARK service of CCEDNet is hiring a Recruitment Coordinator.  The Spark Recruitment Coordinator builds capacity and impact of community development initiatives by recruiting a broad base of volunteers with specialized skills such as facilitators, business planners, consultants, lawyers, architects, and designers to volunteer with local community organizations on specific short-term projects. They will reach out and work closely with community organizations to assess capacity and determine needs in order to ensure appropriate and successful matches with volunteers. They will also support communications and promotion of the program.

For more information on this position, click here.  
CCEDNet is hiring a Resource Coordinator.  The Resource Coordinator will support operations for a variety of programs including the Manitoba Gathering, the annual Policy Summit, and Social Enterprise Manitoba activities. This person will ensure venues, catering, volunteers, and other logistical details are organized and confirmed, and will also support administrative or communications duties as needed.  Click here for more information.
The Canadian Worker Co-op Federation (CWCF) is accepting nominations until July 20 for two awards - the Worker Co-op Best Practices Award or an individual for the Worker Co-op Merit Award. Award winners, who are generally from the region in which the Conference is held, will have their registration and expenses covered to attend the Conference.  

Submit your nominee(s) to Kaye Grant,, with a brief write-up as to why you are nominating the co-op or the individual. The award winners will be chosen by the Board of CWCF. The details of each Award are below.
Award for Worker Co-op Best Practices

The Worker Co-op Best Practices Award goes to a worker cooperative which has demonstrated best practices in governance and/or operations, including in upholding the values and principles of the cooperative movement within their cooperative, and has shared, or is willing to share their experience and learnings with other worker co-operatives in Canada. Cooperatives in which a current Board or staff member of CWCF is a worker-member are ineligible.

The Award is presented with a brief explanation of the cooperative's best practices, and then the recipient is given the opportunity to make a speech or to present a workshop, which would be with the support of CWCF if required.

The Mark Goldblatt Worker Co-op Merit Award

The Worker Co-op Merit Award goes to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to worker cooperation in Canada, as judged by the Board of CWCF. 

The Award is presented with an explanation of the person's contributions to the movement, and then the person is given the opportunity to make a brief speech.

For both awards, the recipient is presented with the Award during the CWCF annual Conference. Current Board and staff of CWCF are ineligible. CWCF covers the registration fee and expenses to have the recipient attend the Conference. 
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