Being a co-op, Boise Co-op has some pretty crowded owner’s meetings – about 32,000 owners in total have a piece of the pie! With items from more than 270 local providers, Michelle Andersen’s business is truly by the people, for the people, focusing on local, organic, and natural products for nearly half a century.

While considered an essential business and not forced to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that came with its own challenges. Employees had to go above and beyond to keep everyone in the store safe while they shopped. “It’s been a tough year, but one that has made us stronger as an organization,” Michelle said.

With plenty of goods to share with the community, Michelle felt it was time to give back, and that’s what led her to join Columbia Bank’s Pass It On Project. That is why Boise Co-op is providing snacks to the Boise Bicycle Project for their Holiday Kids Bike Giveaways and Columbia Bank is paying the bill. This local nonprofit focuses on providing bicycle access to kids in the community, particularly those from families of newly-settled refugees or those facing economic hardship. Michelle and her crew will provide healthy snacks when families come to pick up their new bikes.

“2020 has been an especially challenging year for everyone,” she said. “The opportunity to bring joy to someone else, as well as find ways to come together as a community, is so important right now. We’re deeply entrenched in the community and want to do everything we can to support its health and vibrancy.”