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What’s a Co-op?

HomeWhat’s a Co-op?

So…What is a Co-op?

A food co-op is a grocery store owned by folks in their community. Unlike corporate chains, food co-ops are totally independent and owned by the community members who shop there. So instead of focusing on investors, food co-ops focus on their community. Co-op grocery stores are the place to find the best local food, because they know their local farmers and family business owners by name. And food co-ops are passionate about giving back to their communities.

Here’s how it works:

Everyone is welcome to shop, eat and hang out at a food co-op. And everyone is welcome to join by becoming an owner. Co-op owners then get back financial rewards, as well as a vote to choose the Board of Directors and impact the co-op’s future direction.

Why Co-ops Matter

Cooperation is working together toward the same end and joining forces to accomplish a task that can’t be achieved alone. Simply put, co-ops provide the framework that allows people to get what they want in a way that better meets their economic, social, and cultural needs.

Cooperation builds strong bonds between the people who supply products and the people who use them. By their nature, co-ops offer a way to transform the way business is done — providing a means to get the products and services their customers need while strengthening the community and the world around them. Many co-ops set a standard for the surrounding business community through environmental and social responsibility.

Cooperatives like Alberta Co-op are guided by seven internationally recognized principles that help us stay connected and accessible to our owners and our community. These principles are:

1. Voluntary & Open Membership
2. Democratic Member Control
3. Member Economic Participation
4. Autonomy & Independence
5. Education, Training, & Information
6. Cooperation Among Cooperatives
7. Concern for Community