What is a “Cooperative”? How does it work?
A cooperative is a business. Co-ops range in size from small storefronts to Fortune 500 companies. In many ways co-ops are like other businesses — but in several important ways they’re unique and different. Cooperatives are member-owned, member-governed businesses that operate for the benefit of their members according to common principles agreed upon by the international cooperative community. In co-ops, members pool resources to bring about economic results that are unobtainable by one person alone. Most simply put, a cooperative is a business that’s: (1) voluntarily owned by the people who use it, and (2) operated for the benefit of its members.
Co-ops can be organized for the benefit of consumers, producers and workers and operate in almost all areas. For instance, consumer co-ops provide food, housing, health care (the original HMOs were co-ops), financial services (credit unions), and other goods and services. Producer co-ops most typically offer agricultural services for farmers – either inputs (e.g. seed, fertilizer, fencing) or processing and marketing (e.g. milk bottling and cheese production). Worker co-ops offer cab services, cleaning, manufacturing, and food production. Regardless of the goods and services provided, co-ops aim to meet their members’ needs. Learn more about consumer grocery cooperatives.
Do I have to be a member to shop at the Littleton Food Co-op?
No, everyone is — and always will be — welcome to shop at the Co-op.
If membership isn’t mandatory, why should I join?
Membership is ownership! Unlike other businesses with models involving some form of membership, when you become a member of the Littleton Food Co-op, you’re purchasing your own piece of the business. Our Member-owners help the Co-op support numerous local food growers and producers and work with area nonprofits (and community initiatives) to develop a healthier and more prosperous Littleton area. Littleton Food Co-op members are also responsible for the governance of the cooperative by: (1) Annually nominating and electing their peers (fellow members) to positions on the board of directors. (2) Voting directly on any major proposed changes to our bylaws or governance operations.
Member-owners also: (1) Save 10% on their birthday, member appreciation days, and member appreciation weekends (2) Senior (age 65+) member-owners save 10% during our monthly senior member discount days. (3) Member owners are eligible to receive patronage rebates following profitable years for the cooperative (at the board’s discretion). (4) Member-owners are eligible for discounted insurance rates as a benefit of their membership. (5) Receive discounted pricing on special orders of cases. (6) Save 5% to 10% on all supplements every Wednesday.
How is the Co-op different from a typical grocery store?
Littleton Food Co-op is a local, community-owned business, and we promote a strong and sustainable community economy by supporting other local businesses. In 2017 alone, Littleton Food Co-op spent $2.1M purchasing products grown or produced in our community — nearly a third of purchasing that year (28%). Every dollar spent at the Littleton Food Co-op has roughly three times as much local economic impact compared to a dollar spent at a non-locally owned or operated business.
What makes a product “Local”?
We define a product’s locality in a few ways: (1) Products produced within the greater Littleton Area (Littleton +15 Miles) (2) Products produced within a hundred-mile radius of the Co-op, and/or (3) Products produced in our native New Hampshire or a neighboring state: Vermont, Maine or (sometimes) Massachusetts.
Is there a fee for charging my electric car at the Co-op?
The Littleton Food Co-op is proud to offer FREE electric car charging. We do, however, ask that you consider making a donation (of any size) to our Partner of the Month program. Pay it forward! Contributions can be made at the Service Desk or during regular checkout.
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