Grocery Innovation & Partnership Research Request for Proposals

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Summary and Background:

The Louisville Association for Community Economics (LACE) is currently accepting proposals to research and identify partnerships & innovations to refine our business plan for the Louisville Community Grocery. The Grocery needs to incorporate creative responsive elements that improve viability of a grocery business model in a challenging business climate for the grocery industry. The Louisville Community Grocery will be an urban, cooperatively-owned grocery. The neighborhoods we are focused on serving are Old Louisville, Smoketown/Shelby Park, Russell, Portland, and Shawnee.

LACE is the non-profit Cooperative Developer launching the grocery project, and has been awarded a grant from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development to advance planning for the Louisville Community Grocery.  Find more background on this project at

LACE promotes community-owned enterprises, initially focusing on a grocery which improves healthy food access/education, supports social interaction within a diverse community, and builds neighborhood wealth.

Proposal Guidelines

Proposals will be accepted until all funds are obligated. Proposals should describe  your work plan from June- August including your initial ideas and justifications of how you will begin to gather information about prospective Grocery partners and innovations, who your initial contacts will be for this research, and how you will follow up on and document your findings.

Project Purpose & Description

Following market trends in the grocery business, we want to identify opportunities to sustain a grocery business in an urban neighborhood by leveraging existing resources and community talent. We are exploring innovative solutions that would use the cooperative ownership model to offer additional service(s) to the community that also support the store’s profitability, such as

  • Co-locating other existing businesses or service providers such as a cafe/deli, financial institution, pharmacy, health clinic, child care, or other retail.
  • Collaborate with other organizations, institutions, and community initiatives to:
    • Identify opportunities to collaborate on infrastructure and logistics
    • Explore other worker cooperatives and enterprises that support a grocery and cultivate entrepreneurship, especially youth entrepreneurs who could offer products or services to complement the grocery business
    • Explore online ordering, delivery service, or mobile market for shoppers with mobility limitations
    • Investigate platform co-ops’ potential to provide services such as delivery,  software management, billing, advertising, and administrative functions
    • Capture information about the local food retail environment, to complement a professional market study.


  • The consultant will meet with a representative from the Governing Board at least once/month to check in about progress


  • The consultant will be tasked with meeting with at least 20 individuals or entities and reporting on opportunities identified in these meetings.
  • The consultant will be tasked with identifying at least one business that is interested in pursuing a partnership
  • Provide an analysis of its feasibility based on conversation and research and support Market Research Committee on designing a project-market fit test they can implement
  • A final report should include results of research into the aforementioned partnerships or business model innovations or new ideas that emerge.

RFP and Project Timelines

Proposals are due by May 22, 2019 via email to

Evaluation of proposals will be conducted from May 23-31. Work may start as early as June 1, 2019.  

Project Timeline

June -August 2019,  $5000 available for hours & expenses

September- December 2019,  additional work possible pending additional funding.



Additional expectations and job description are to be mutually agreed upon and added to the proposal. Each party has the right to terminate this contract at any time for any reason.


An ideal candidate will be

  • Familiar with Louisville’s food system including business and nonprofit entities.
  • Experienced with grocery and/or other related businesses
  • An excellent communicator, including documentation & reporting
  • Able to develop relationships with prospective local partners as we build the Louisville Community Grocery
  • Skilled in making connections, thinking creatively and synthetically to help us anticipate and address challenges in launching a community-owned grocery business.
  • Interested in staying involved with the Grocery project and helping to execute some of the innovations or partnerships that look most promising
  • Passionate for food justice and the mission of the Louisville Community Grocery
  • Flexible, understanding about working with diverse populations, and committed to equity

Proposal Evaluation Criteria

Suitability: Proposal must meet the scope and needs described here and be presented in a clear and organized manner

Experience: We are seeking someone with experience relevant to the scope of this project.

expertise and experience: Please provide descriptions and documentation of your expertise and experience, such as a resume and/or samples of work.

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