We at Gem City Podcast first learned about the Gem City Market in July of 2017, when the co-op was first getting started. See episode 443: http://gemcitypodcast.com/?p=3179

Two and a half years later, we get an update on the progress of GCM from Kenya Baker, the Community Engagement Manager for Co-op Dayton. Kenya was born in Detroit, Michigan and moved to Dayton during her childhood.  She has worked as a teacher in Dayton public schools for the past fifteen years. She is also a serial entrepreneur and author of several children’s books. In 2017, she was inspired by the Gem City Market project to join the cooperative movement. She believes in the power of community and worker ownership to transform Dayton’s neighborhoods and residents’ lives, and she works to get people involved in the Gem City Market and other cooperative projects. Kenya received her Master’s of Education from the University of Dayton and her BS from Wilberforce University.

The Gem City Market will be a vibrant, community-centered, full-service grocery store located along lower Salem Avenue, near downtown Dayton. The store will feature affordable, quality, kitchen staples, including well-stocked fresh produce and meat departments, as well as specialty, local and organic products that make the store a unique draw. Well-trained and friendly worker-owners will ensure exceptional service, and a community space will offer healthy food and nutrition classes and programing accessible to all.  The Market is estimated to be open October 2020.

The Gem City Market project is a community-led initiative coordinated by Co-op Dayton. Co-op Dayton was founded in 2015 by members of the Dayton community committed to the twin missions of addressing Dayton’s food crisis and incubating cooperative businesses to bring sustainable jobs to Dayton. The Co-op Dayton steering committee includes residents of the neighborhoods where the store will be located, as well as a diverse set of representatives from Dayton anchor organizations, including universities, healthcare and faith institutions.


A member-owner is a community member who chooses to purchase a membership share of the store. Member-owners will co-own the store with employee-owners. Anyone can shop at the Gem City Market, but only member-owners will be able to vote in annual meetings, elect and serve as members of the board of directors, and have access to member-only discounts.

Become a member-owner by purchasing your share today! We have a one-person, one-share, one-vote policy, but you can contribute more than the cost your membership by gifting shares or donating directly to Gem City Market. Donations will support memberships for Daytonians facing economic hardship and contribute to our fundraising goals. Donations made directly to the cooperative are not tax deductible.


We will need the ideas, skills, expertise, and passion from the community to ensure GCM’s success. In an effort to capitalize on these assets, we will be conducting a capacity inventory to keep track all of the different and unique ways people can contribute to this project. More information about the capacity inventory is coming soon.

There will also be opportunities for community loans, for those willing to loan us money for a period of time, with payment and interest all due at the end of the term. More information about community loans is coming soon.





(937) 701-7432

c/o CO-OP Dayton

840 Germantown St

Dayton, OH 45402