Yes, I've been to Claudia's and Bassets years ago, and they are fine stores. If the co-op didn't exist, I'd probably shop at one of those stores more often. But the Phoenix Earth Food Co-op is "a not-for-profit business, owned and operated by its members." And by volunteering some time at the Phoenix Earth Food Co-op, I think you save a little more on your purchases.
It's been a long time since I've been to Basset's and Claudia's, so I don't know how much local and regional produce and products they sell. At the co-op, you can get a free-range turkey from a local farmer around the holidays if that's your thing. I think the eggs are from area farmers. You can get 'old school' and by milk in glass bottles. The co-op will sell organically-grown produce from local and regional farmers when its available. For example, a person or two from the co-op will pick blueberries from a farm just up the road in Michigan and sell them at the store. I look forward to those.
At this time of the year, however, I like buying local produce at farmer's markets and from the little roadside produce stands. It may not be organically grown, but it's local, fresh, and tasty. Erie Orchards does limited spraying on its apples. That's a fun place. Sometimes I buy local produce at a little stand along Lewis Ave just across the line, but I can never remember the name of that store. And I might stop at a roadside stand along Rt. 2, a little east of the road to Maumee Bay St. Park after birdwatching out that way.
Anyway, the co-op just seems like a different kind of store or "business" and it pretty much has everything I need. Some things are more expensive at the co-op when compared to chain stores, but I guess the herbs and spices are considerably cheaper at the co-op than at the chains.
As to the co-op's small store size, I prefer it. I detest going to grocery stores that are bigger than the new Jeep plant. When I go to a so-called real grocery store, I go to Churchill's on Central between Secor and Douglas. That's another small store.
I don't know if it's true or not because I never remember to ask the right person, but I heard the co-op would like to expand by moving into the DeVeaux Village Shopping Center, but the co-op doesn't have the money right now to do that. That would be convenient for me because I could walk to the co-op then.