The Co-op Bar was designed because artists tend to hang out in bars and cafÃ©s, and a co-op structure allows them to capture the profits and redistribute them as artists grants. In past versions the Co-op Bar dealt only in liquor. This version of the project included food — a daily lunch service that I cooked — and coffee (12oz of Coffee grounds can cost around $8-12, and selling cups of cold brew at the Co-op Bar we were able to raise a significant amount of money).
We used scrap materials for the bar, so the original project budget was invested in a few kitchen gadgets sourced at local thrift stores and food. Participants paid a competitive price for lunch. Then that money was re-invested the following day for the next lunch, each time making a profit. At the opening students invested in bottles of alcohol, which was then sold. All the profits were collected and left for students to use for their collaborative projects. When I left, we had served 3 or 4 lunches and accumulated several hundred dollars.
These are photos of the bar, which is slightly different than previous versions. You can find some previous plans on the Co-op Bar Online Resources page.
You can see a post about my on-the-cheap iced coffee brewing method (iced coffee is very profitable).