Everyone is Welcome to Shop at the Co-op… but Becoming a Member has its Perks!
“A co-op is as strong as the members who own and participate in it.”
What Is a Co-op?
Cooperatives are member-owned, member-governed businesses that operate for the benefit of their members according to common principles. Becoming a member-owner of the Concord Food Co-op is an investment in your community. The Co-op serves our member’s needs for local, organic, natural, and eco-friendly products. In turn, we need the financial support of our membership to improve and expand our product lines, services, and equipment. It also allows us to take on special projects that support our local farmers, downtown community, like-minded nonprofits, and educational programs in wellness and agriculture for our community at large. Membership means helping the Co-op provide you with more of what you want. We are much more than just a grocery store.
- You are an owner in a cooperatively run local business. Every member has an equal, democratic voice in the control of our stores.
- You share in the stores’ profits through our patronage refund. In every year that the Co-op is profitable, our net profits will be divided up and given back to members in the form of a check and store equity.
- You can participate in the governance of your Co-op by voting in annual and special elections and running to serve on our Board of Directors.
- You and your family are invited to join us for our Annual Meeting in September, including food and activities provided by the Co-op. Meeting details are posted on our events page as they are available.
- You will receive 6 Member Appreciation Coupons valid for different months of the year to receive 10% off your purchase. (Buying club, membership shares, gift cards, beer & alcohol are excluded.)
- You receive a free subscription to the Co-op’s Natural Buzz newsletter.
- You can order products through the Co-op’s Buying Club for even greater savings.
It’s easy to become a member of the Co-op. During your next visit, tell the cashier that you would like to join. The cost of membership is $100 per household. You’ll have the option of paying your equity all at once or in quarterly installments. Members who choose to pay all at once receive a $10 coupon toward that day’s groceries. There are no annual dues or additional costs.
This is not a fee that you pay and lose. If you decide to end your membership, you can ask the Co-op to repurchase your membership shares and return you equity investment.
Here are some useful stats on membership and membership equity:
- $100 Equity Contribution per household. This is the cost to become a member.
- The A Share is your first $25 payment, and it gives you most of your Co-op benefits immediately.
- The B Shares comprise your three remaining $25 payments. Once you have one A and three B Shares, you are eligible to vote, receive a patronage refund, and receive Member Appreciation Coupons.
- You can pay for all these shares at once for $100 or in four quarterly installments.
- There are no annual dues or fees.
- One household member may vote on the Co-op’s issues. Each additional voting member per household requires an additional $100 equity investment.
- Your Equity Investment is completely refundable should you ever move or choose to leave the Co-op. Simply contact our Finance Manager Peter Deleault at 603.227.9696 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- When you become a member or make payments on your membership, the cashier can add your equity payment right to your grocery bill. You will be given a membership card that you can show to the cashier at each visit to the Co-op to receive your member discount.
Only member-owners of the Co-op who have $100 of equity contribution at the end of the fiscal year in which a patronage refund is declared, are eligible to receive a refund when the Co-op is profitable. This means that when the organization achieves a positive net income for the fiscal year, the Board of Directors may designate a portion of the profit be returned to the members in the form of a refund check.
A refund is calculated like this: Each time a member shops the Co-op, we scan your member card, allowing us to track your total purchases throughout the year. In years when the Co-op is profitable and the Board of Directors approves a patronage refund, each member receives a percentage of their total purchases in the form of a refund check and/or membership shares. However, during any year in which the Co-op does not achieve a positive net income, members would not receive a refund check or equity shares, thereby sharing in the Co-op’s financial ups and downs. Checks are mailed after the annual audit is complete in late autumn, pending approval by the Board of Directors.
Our special FLOWER Membership is the Co-op’s member-owner discount specifically designed to make our products more affordable for lower-income individuals and families. Eligible FLOWER participants will receive 15 percent off store purchases every day and an affordable membership to the Co-op. FLOWER fits the Co-op’s mission to “provide our community with high-quality natural and organic foods and environmentally sound products at reasonable prices” and opens the door to folks who would otherwise not be able to become Co-op members.
FLOWER means more people in our community coming together and supporting a dynamic, locally owned cooperative that is committed to offering healthier food choices. Individuals currently receiving assistance from certain government programs will receive a total discount of 15 percent at our stores and a total of four years to complete the membership investment. This discount applies to all items in the store including our “Co-op Value Price” items (everyday low prices on specific products in our stores) and our Co+op Deals sales (items that appear in our biweekly sales flyer).
Current and new member-owners qualify for FLOWER if they currently receive assistance from one of the following programs:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as Food Stamps)
- Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
- Free School Lunch Program
How do you apply? Applications are available from any cashier, or click here to download and print your copy. Completed applications can be submitted to either store. As a FLOWER member-owner participant, you may make annual membership payments in place of quarterly payments until the full membership investment is completed. The FLOWER discount lasts for one year, and program participants will need to reapply annually. FLOWER membership, like all Co-op memberships, is an individual membership, good for one adult and family members living within your household.