What is a Co-op? A co-op is a jointly and democratically owned business. Everyone who buys a share in the business has a vote and profits in some way when the business is profitable. Co-ops have values and principles that guide them in how they operate. Our co-op sells shares to each household who wants to join.
Why do we need a co-op grocery store in Grand Rapids? We're already the home of Meijer, Spartan/Nash, and Gordons! Yes, and we still have limited food access in the central part of our town. We are working to bring food access to this traditionally underserved area. We are also working to strengthen our local food system, provide good paying jobs to people who live near the store, provide a community gathering space that welcomes everyone, and show Grand Rapids a new way to do business cooperatively that keeps the money circulating in our community.
How much is a share of the Co-op? Our share is $250 for each household. Shares are not yearly fees, you pay this amount to become an owner of the co-op. This can be paid all at once or over ten months at $25 per month. If you are low income, you can access our Food for All program and buy a share for $25. If your budget does not allow you to buy a share, we have a scholarship program that can help.
What if I want to leave the Co-op? You can leave the co-op anytime and your share will be returned to you according to the bylaws.
What if the Co-op doesn't open a store? If the co-op decides to cease operations, shares will be returned as much as possible. There is a risk to ownership of any business, but the risk is shared by all of us equally as well as the rewards.
Where will the store be located? Once we have closer to 1000 owners, we can start the search for our site. Co-ops build up their customer base by sharing the power through collective ownership! What other type of grocery store does that? We hope to locate where food access is a strong need, most likely somewhere south or north of downtown. The sooner we have enough community owners, the sooner we can locate our store and start the funding drive to finance it!
What kind of products will be in the store? We plan to have as much local food as possible. We want to have food that is healthy and good for all diets. Yes, we'll still have bananas and pineapples and avocados, and we will be supporting our local farmers as well. You will know when you shop at our store where the food came from, who grew it, and how sustainably it was grown. We will also have other household products, health and beauty products, bulk foods and spices, and beer and wine.
Are you a part of ICCF or another Christian organization? No. We are an independent, cooperative business organized under the Michigan Co-op Statute.