what does it mean to be a member-owner?
A cooperative is a business that is owned and democratically guided by its members. While everyone is welcome to shop here, once customers discover the benefits of ownership, they may want to join and take advantage of all the perks and community benefits:
DISCOUNTS! Owner receive:
- 15% OFF store-wide on Owner Appreciation Days
- 10% OFF for college student owners every FRIDAY, for seniors every THURSDAY, and for all owners on monthly Wellness WEDNESDAY
- 10% OFF case orders of your favorite products
- Discounts with more than 80 local Business Partners;
- Frequent buyer rewards for bread and cookie purchases
- Access to our limited income discount program (FLOWER)
- Free or reduced prices for films and classes.
LOCAL INVESTMENT. Your $10 payment to become an owner for a year is a true investment in the Co-op and its future. This investment, your "equity", helps build your store. For example, owner equity helped us move into this building and expand. Our ownership paid for our salad bar, energy efficient lighting, bakery ovens, and so much more! Your equity is designated for store improvements and is not taxable to our Co-op. And, shopping as an owner is an investment itself – tax laws allow co-ops to retain net profit from owner shopping and keep it untaxed and earmarked for owners and for store improvements. This means that when we're profitable, owners may receive a refund based on their spending. All you have to do is shop! Please read the "Patronage Refunds" section below for more information.
LOCAL CONTROL. Owners shape the Co-op. Because cooperatives are democratic, each owner gets one share and one vote -- no more, no less. Owners have an equal say in what we do and the opportunity to vote for or serve on the Board of Directors. You also can volunteer for community projects or committees that shape the Co-op. For example, because of our owners' priorities our departments strive to buy products from vendors within 200 miles of Moscow, which helps strengthen our local economy.
How to become a member-owner
It takes about one minute at any check stand, and then you'll own part of a locally grown and democratically guided food cooperative. During your visit just let your cashier know that you would like to join. The investment costs just $10 for one year of ownership. (Some owners choose to pay $150 and become "lifetime owners" -- or after 15 years of ownership automatically become lifetime owners.) Next, consider coming to our Owner Welcome gathering and learn more about the Co-op and how to make the most of its benefits. For more information about the gathering, read here.
Consumer cooperatives can return to their member-owners a percentage of the net profit from owner activity. This refund is based on how much individual owners spend at the Co-op. To qualify for a refund owners just shop using their accounts, and each owners' refund will be calculated based upon their total patronage for the year.
The Board of Directors votes on patronage refunds and the refunds are distributed for the previous year's activity. Some years we have enough profit to return a portion to owners, and some years we do not. In late 2015, the Board voted to issue refunds for owners' 2015 activity. The refunds will be distributed in fall 2016.
Become an active owner
Read here for more information on how to be involved in the direction of your Co-op.
If you have any questions about ownership benefits, rights, and responsibilities, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 882-8537.