Oceana is a Newport success story. For nearly 20 years this cooperative venture has prospered by serving the needs of local residents and remaining true to its mission.
Natural Food Cooperative
In 1977 a handful of local folks recognized the need for a local retail store selling organically grown and bulk foods. In those days, grocery outlets had not yet "discovered" the huge potential of bulk food sales. Although these folks had a good idea, individually none of them had the resources to start a business. Together, however, they formed a cooperative. Each member contributed a small amount of capital that purchased the initial inventory and they rented a small storefront in uptown Newport. Oceana was off and running.
In the years since, Oceana has grown steadily. We are now in our fifth location, growing from a handful of members to about 1,000. Daily sales at Oceana now exceed the monthly totals of those early years. 18 part-time employees work with member volunteers to keep the store well stocked and running smoothly. Oceana has expanded its product lines and now carries a full line of organically grown produce, bulk foods, herbs and spices, specialty beer and wines, vitamins and supplements, cruelty-free health and beauty products, environmentally friendly household products, fresh sandwiches, soups, salads, juice and baked goods, along with a full line of grocery items.
Oceana is organized as a cooperative corporation. Members pay a $12 annual
membership fee. Prior to the annual membership meeting, members elect a Board of Directors. The Board continues to define Oceana's mission and policies. The Board hires a general manager to supervise daily operations. Oceana also appreciates the volunteer efforts from some of its members. Members can earn up to a 10% discount on all their purchases for volunteer work. Oceana welcomes and encourages non-members to shop in the store.
Throughout the years, Oceana has remained true to its mission of supplying quality, wholesome and nutritious foods at the lowest possible prices, emphasizing organically grown foods. Organically grown means that food is grown without chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Products carried at Oceana contain no artificial additives or chemical preservatives. Many people with special diets and food allergies shop at Oceana because we are responsive to our members and order products to meet their needs. Lowest possible price means that Oceana is run as a not for profit venture. We are not tax exempt, however, as "Not for Profit" is a philosophy rather than a legal designation.
Another part of Oceana's mission is continued education about the benefits of natural foods. Oceana provides a forum for local health professionals to give demonstrations and lectures on diverse topics from cooking with natural foods to alternative health care. Nearly all health care providers now recognize the benefits of a healthy diet.
Today, Oceana continues to invest in the local community. We buy from local growers and other sources within the region whenever possible. Oceana works with local schools to provide information on good nutrition and health. We participate in community education projects such as the local county "Health Faire". We are an aggressive recycler, sending very little to the landfill. Newport benefits from the existence of a well-stocked natural foods store. Visitors are provided with their needs and new-comers to the area are assured that they will find the products they need. Oceana's commitment to healthy food translates into a commitment to a healthy community and a healthy planet.