Fedco stands for Federal Employees Distributing Company, it was a non-profit California corporation and wholly member-owned. It was founded in 1957 by 800 postal workers and started out as a small storefront on Slauson Avenue, in downtown Los Angeles where one would order products out of a catalog and then pick them up later. It eventually reached 13 stores (10 membership retail stores; 3 appliance and furniture centers), with some in Pasadena, Van Nuys, and Ontario. Its relatively limited expansion in its 50+ year existance was due largely to the fact that when they opened a new store, it was not under any sort of finance. Fedco paid for it completely, it had a strict corporate policy of refusing debt.
The stores had very loyal customers, largely because it was a one stop shop for nearly everything, resembling a Wal-Mart Supercenter (With some more like shoe repair), and had prices that were lower then anywhere else, period. Even if a few items were a bit more expensive, you saved a lot more overall. Customer service at Fedco was also excellent, there was always someone in every department there to help.
The most interesting thing about Fedco was not that it was membership-only, but it was required that you were either a full-time student, worked for the government in some way (i.e. USPS, IRS, government contractors) or worked for a non-profit company. It would eventually gain at least 3 million members.
Eventually Fedco was forced to file for Chapter 11 bankrupcy in 1999, I have never gotten any definative word on what caused it, as it was extremely unexpected. The most likey story I have heard was that the long time CEO decided to step down, and the replacement embezzeled all the company's money and ran. In the end, Target purchased their real estate assets for $120 million, and remodeled most of them.
Perhaps someone will revive Fedco, as it was truly an excellent store.