From the outside, many co-ops look like any other business, since they provide products and services like conventional businesses do. But it’s what goes on behind the scenes that makes a co-op different.

A cooperative (co-op) exists to serve its members (primarily communities in the area), but what makes co-ops unique is that the members are also the owners. In addition to getting the products and services needed, members also have a say in the business decisions the cooperative makes.

Rather than rewarding outside investors with its profits, a co-op returns surplus revenue to its members in proportion to how much they use the co-op. This democratic approach to business results in a powerful economic force that benefits the co-op, its members and the communities it serves.

Lexington Co-op Market, on Elmwood and Hertel Avenues, is a community owned business with a purpose. Its goal is to be the friendliest store in town with the freshest produce, and bulk and prepared foods coming from local and organic farms across the region. The Hertel Ave. location is the newest store, in an effort to connect with community members on a wider scale. Part of the innovation and goal for the new location (that opened on July 12th) was to build upon the board members vision for more access to healthy local foods; increased knowledge about consumer issues and co-ops; connect with mopainted-goat-pic-garlic-and-chivere local farmers, owners, food, jobs and community; more sustainable food, practices, and infrastructure, and more space to shop and work in.

Having visited the store, I can say that it is beautiful, and the staff are very friendly and knowledgeable about what constitutes “healthy ingredients.”

Lexington Co-op offers daily fresh foods, more healthy options, savings to its members, and great recipes. As part of its initiative to communicate more with the community at large, Lexington Co-op has shared these great recipes for my adoring Food for Thought followers:

Gooey Grilled Cheese at the Co-op!

When’s the best time for grilled cheese?  Anytime!  We’ve been melting local cheeses with buttery abandon to find the best tasting combos. Try these four “grown-up” versions featuring local ingredients, or build your own with different kinds of bread, cheese and toppings.

Three cheesy combos to try:

Raclette style with Apricot Ginger Chutney
Bread: Costanzo’s Brioche Roll Buffalo, NY
Spread: Lexi’s Apricot Ginger Chutney
Cheese: East Hill Underpass Reserve Perry, NY
Topping: Spinach Bowman Hill Farm, Kent, NY
Spicy Havarti & Soft Pretzel
Bread: BreadHive Sourdough Soft Pretzels Buffalo, NY
Spread: Dijon Mustard
Cheese: God’s Country Creamery Hellish Havarti Ulysses, PA
Topping:  The Piggery Salami Cotto Ithaca, NY

Herbed Chèvre with Avocado 
Bread: 5 Points Whole Wheat Buffalo, NY
Cheese: Painted Goat Garlic and Chive Chèvre Garrattsville, NY
Topping: Avocado


Basic technique

  1. Lightly spread both sides of bread slices with butter and then assemble sandwich.
  2. Heat a skillet over medium-low heat.
  3. Place sandwich in the warm skillet and cook on one side until golden brown and cheese begins to melt, 2-4 minutes.
  4. Flip sandwich over and cook until golden brown and cheese is completely melted, 2-4 additional minutes. If cheese is not melting fast enough, or you prefer a softer/less crunchy sandwich, place a lid partially over the pan during the cooking process.
  5. Let cool 2 minutes before cutting, so the cheese doesn’t ooze out!

If you would like more information, visit or call 716.886.0024


Published by smtraphagen

SM Traphagen is a writer and novelist. Her works have appeared on, Accounting Today Magazine, St. Reds Magazine, The Culture-ist Magazine, Buffalo Healthy Living Magazine, among others. With a fiction novel written, the hope is to expand the world of fiction in fun and creative ways. Her love of writing fiction and food have culminated in a website that blends the two, including Digestion Suggestion and Untold Shorties.

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