It's been a struggle, but member-owned cooperatives have found various ways to survive over the past 50 years. Although their numbers have shrunk by about a third over the last decade, the 25 surviving retailer-owned co-ops do a combined annual volume of just over $50 billion. Two of the most consistently successful have been Wakefern Food Corp., Elizabeth, N.J., in the Northeast and Los Angeles-based Unified Western Grocers, formerly Certified Grocers of California, in the West -- both of ...

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