Five Myths About Co-ops Debunked

Five Myths About Co-ops Debunked

Since co-ops do business differently, a lot of confusion can arise as to how they work.

But if you're reading this, you might know a few things about cooperative grocery stores already. Heck, you might know A LOT of things about them. Unfortunately, there are still many people who have a few wrong ideas about what we are as a co-op and how we work.

At Abundance, we want everyone to know how amazing our co-op is for everyone: our shoppers, Rochester, our local farmers and producers, our bodies, and our taste buds. These five myths are a quick way to get the lowdown on co-ops, to clear the cobwebs, or to get excited all over again about co-ops!

Myth #1:I have to be a owner to shop at the food co-op.


As part of the National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA) Abundance is a public consumer cooperative, which means we are open to the public like any other grocery store for shopping. There are co-ops that require ownership to shop, but that's not us. 
Everyone is welcome at the co-op. Just do your shopping like you would anywhere else. Once you’ve discovered the benefits of co-op shopping, you might want to find out more about the benefits of ownership, too.

Myth #2: I have to be a hippie/liberal/vegetarian/etc. to shop at the co-op.


Same answer: everyone’s welcome. Liberal or conservative, hippie or yuppie, veggie lover or bacon lover—anyone can shop co-op.

Myth #3: Being a co-op owner means I have to join the board (or work part-time at the co-op, or do something else I’m not really sure I want to do).


All you really have to do is enjoy shopping at the co-op! Sure, you can run for the board or participate in co-op events if you like, but your level of participation is always entirely up to you.

Myth #4: I have to pay an annual fee to be a owner of the co-op.


To become an owner of Abundance, you buy shares. Each is $100. The share is for life, so no annual fees. Your shares make you a co-owner of the co-op along with the other shopper-owners. If for any reason you decide to leave the co-op, there is a process to get your investment refunded. More shares does not mean more votes–we follow one vote for one owner in co-op elections.

Myth #5: There’s no reason to become a owner if I can shop at the co-op for free.


While co-ops welcome everyone to shop, there are definite benefits to becoming a owner. For instance, owners can vote in co-op issues, so they get a say in how the co-op works and where it spends its money. And speaking of money, when the co-op turns a profit, owners may be eligible for a patronage refund in proportion to their purchases. There’s also a host of other owner benefits that are specific to each co-op (just talk to the staff to find out more).

So even if you only shop at the co-op once a month, the benefits will exceed your investment, and you’ll get to play a part in a vibrant community resource.
Have a co-op myth you hear a lot about and want to share? Let us know–email us.
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