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co-op stores

is anybody a member of a co-op store in their community? I'm seriously considering joining the one where I live. how have you found the experience? what are the benefits/disadvantages?


I joined my co-op in Albany about 5 years ago at the cost of 100 dollars, and have already saved around 800 dollars by my calculations even though most of the time I haven't been a working member.  I'm not sure if other co-op's work the same way (the more you work, the higher your discount, to a certain extent) but just being a member of mine comes with a 3% discount on everything for sale in the store.    Buying a membership is the same as buying a share, so that you are a partial owner of the business, and can go to member meetings and have some influence on product purchasing and other activities. 

I think you should go for it!


I belong to the one here. It's $15/year fee and you don't work. You get a 10% member discount and all the usual ownership rights. The building/store is completely etc., organic, and veg*n. It's a good base, but I don't go as often as I would like as it's on the other side of town.
I think it's worth joining a co-op! :)


I love my local co-op.  Another benefit is the members choose the board members so the function of the business is determined at a much more member-oriented scale than a typical grocery store.  Also, the board chooses what to stock on the shelves and most have bylaws stating that nothing can have trans-fats or high fructose corn syrup or GMO's or whatever the members decide the store needs to carry.  I find I get lazy with label reading when I shop at the co-op.

They also typically have fantastic bulk spice collections and herbs.  Most donate a lot back to the community either through donating meeting space or sponsoring local tail-gate markets, bike shops, etc...

There are two types of membership that I've encountered; I'd imagine yours will function in one of these ways:
You can pay to join (mine was $25/year) which entitles you to member discounts or discount days or % discounts.  You can become a working member by working anywhere from 4-40 hours per month which gets you a deeper discount (for instance 5 hours/ month=5% off grocery bill or what ever the members have decided).
or you can pay to join (I've paid $25 and $50 in this set-up) and at the end of the fiscal year any profits left over are divided equally among the members.

I think both are workable systems.  I'd prefer they keep all the profits and turn them around into programs...I suppose since I'm a member, I could bring it up at the next meeting...


I LOVE my co-op in Buffalo, NY. I'm a member-owner, and I work there as a regular employee. We have pretty good bulk selection (though, in my opinion, more is always better!) and an awesome deal on special orders. The regular discount is only 2%, but we might be going to a system of patronage dividends instead. My understanding is that that's a major trend for food coops across the country. Our board is, of course, elected from our membership and the general manager answers to and takes direction from them. I dread having to move someplace without a coop. I think I would miss it desperately.


i think they are worth it.
they are not so easy to come around these days around my area, and we dont even have a WF around here! so we like to support them.
we dont have to work for them anymore, thou we used to.
now we just get  a discount. but when we did work, all we did was help unload the truck once or twice (or none) a week.
it was fun.


I "ditto" everything everyone has said! No matter what the set-up is for member advantages, it is SO worth it! I think co-ops are fantastic & build such a great community! :)


I wish I had a co-op around here!

But, in San Diego ... or more specifically Ocean beach, there is an amazing food coop. Huge. The biggest selection of vegan and vegetarian foods that I have ever seen. I'm so in love with that place - I want to live there! Whenever I'm in San Diego, I spend hours in that place, lol.


thanks everyone :)

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