What is a co-op?

A cooperative, or co-op, is an organization that puts the idea of working together into a business structure. Our co-op is a business, not a club or association, and is owned and governed by our owners.

Our mission is to be a member-owned grocery store that provides convenient access to a variety of locally raised or produced foods and other products and to foster a healthy and economically viable environment for our farmers and our community.

We operate under seven principles that guide our decision-making and structure:

  1. Voluntary and Open Membership: Cooperatives are voluntary organizations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political, or religious discrimination.
  2. Democratic Member Control: Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting policies and decision-making.
  3. Member Economic Participation: Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their cooperative.
  4. Autonomy and Independence: Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members.
  5. Education, Training, and Information: Cooperatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperative.
  6. Cooperation among Cooperatives: Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by cooperating with one another.
  7. Concern for Community: While focusing on members’ needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies accepted by their members.

Why should I join this co-op?

By joining now, you will help speed the process of bringing a full-service grocery store in our area that offers a wide variety of natural and organic food, many of them grown and produced by your neighbors in the Willamette Valley.

In addition, you will receive certain discounts, specials and help decide how are profits are spent. Because you will own this store with your community, you will have a voice in the co-op’s decisions.

Buying a share is easy! It’s a one-time investment of $150. We also offer payment plans if that is a better fit for you. We want our community store to be open and accessible for everyone to become an owner.

Why should I join now instead of later when the store is open?

Right now is the most important time to become an owner because the longer you wait to join, the longer it will take to open the store. To get loans and grants, we must show that we have the funding and that we have community support. If we want the store to last, we need to know that we have a solid base of community support before we open. The earlier you join, the more opportunity you will have in deciding the formation of the co-op’s policies and procedures.

When will the store be open? Why is it taking so long?

A food co-op is a grassroots effort, so it takes time for momentum to build. We’re not rushing it, so we can do it right the first time. To open, we need enough owners for lenders to take us seriously. So, we are meeting our goals at a steady, efficient pace.

Some co-ops typically take three or more years to open, depending on community support and how much debt they’re willing to carry. The best way to help speed the process is to become an owner, to donate your time and resources, and to encourage others to join as well.

Where will the store be located? What if it is too far away from where I live?

We intend for the co-op to be as centrally located as possible. If the chosen location is too inconvenient for you, you can ask for your investment to be refunded, after a one-year grace period, following the store opening.

How does a co-op benefit the community?

A co-op boosts the local economy by keeping profits in the community, creating more jobs, and supporting our local farmers and producers. By fostering community participation, creating a business governed by and for its owners, and offering fresh, healthy, and local food, our co-op will promote a healthier community.

Why do you call the money that owners pay an investment?

When you pay money to join the co-op, you are making an investment in the business. That means you are not just a owner of the co-op, but an OWNER. An investment is not the same thing as fees or dues. The co-op does not have to pay taxes on an investment, because it is equity the business owns. Unlike fees or dues, your investment is refundable if you leave.

Why not just shop at Safeway or Roth’s or another area store?

The co-op is member owned, so the members share in the profits of the store, and participate in the decision-making process. But, the more options to access local, natural food, the better! Keep shopping at those stores today and shop at the co-op when it is open.