Co-op Fest

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Co-op Fest
Past Event - Sunday, October 03, 2021
This page may be updated if the event is repeated
Gem City Market
324 Salem Ave, Dayton, OH 45406 [map it]

This October, Co-op Dayton and Wright-Patt Credit Union (WPCU) are bringing the Dayton community together for a celebration of cooperatives at the Gem City Market.

Co-op Fest


Co-op Fest is Co-op Dayton's flagship annual event. The FREE event is designed to educate the community about cooperative enterprise and build our collective vision for a just economy. The event will include games, music, food, fun and more.

This October, Co-op Dayton and Wright-Patt Credit Union (WPCU) are bringing the Dayton community together for a celebration of cooperatives at the Gem City Market. We invite everyone to meet our local co-ops and explore the ways that we all work together to build a just economy in Dayton.

On Sunday, October 3rd from 2pm to 5pm, come to eat, laugh, shop, and play among neighbors! We are hosting a free all-day family-friendly event outdoors at the Gem City Market. The event will feature a soul food dinner from the Market, vendors organized by Tae Winston of the Entrepreneurs Connection, games, activities, and music. “It is so humbling to join in celebration here at our new Gem City Market location! We are excited to do what we do best, serving fresh high-quality food with our community,” said Leah Bahan-Harris, General Manager of Gem City Market.

Several of our local cooperative businesses will also be there to share their products, services, and special offers with attendees. Among the participating co-ops are the TRIBE doula collective, which offers trauma and resilience informed care to pregnant women and new mothers in Dayton, and the Westside Makerspace cooperative, which is building a space for everyone to explore their passions, learn new skills, and access tools to craft, manufacture, build, and code. “We can't wait to share our plans for a cooperative makerspace, beginning this winter at the new West Dayton branch library,” said Alvin Wilkerson, a Makerspace co-founder.

Later in the month, on Friday, October 22nd at 6pm, tune in to the live broadcast of our newest cooperative businesses pitching for prizes! The enterprise teams will compete for $5,000 in prizes including: a $2,000 cash prize, $2,000 of in-kind services from the Entrepreneurs Center, and a $1,000 cash prize for the team with the most votes from the audience. The events and cash prizes are sponsored by WPCU, IUE-CWA, Henny Penny, CareSource, the City of Dayton Human Relations Council, Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, and Jason Wiener p.c.

The pitch event celebrates all of the hard work that the start-ups completed toward their co-op and social enterprise models. The teams spent six months in Co-op Dayton’s incubator program, performing market research, building financial models, and ultimately developing their business plans. The teams will present business pitches from a variety of industries, including architecture and education, real estate development and services, tourism, artisan craft, and food service.

“Each of these teams represents something we need in our solidarity economy. This is asset-based community development, in which we each bring our gifts to the community in a cooperative way,” said Co-Director of Co-op Dayton, Amaha Selassie.

“Like many of these teams, Wright-Patt Credit Union is a member-owned cooperative, and so we understand the unique value that comes from people helping people,” said Tracy Szarzi-Fors, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development for WPCU. “We’re proud to support this program and excited to see the impact that these new start-ups could bring to their communities.”

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  • Event Venue:

    Gem City Market
    324 Salem Ave
    Dayton, OH 45406
    [Get Map]
    Call: 937-701-7432
    Gem City Market is a full-service grocery store and deli located in the Salem Avenue corridor, just across the bridge from downtown Dayton.

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