Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Co-op Grocery Store? A Cooperative (Co-op) store is a full-service grocery store owned by its Members/ Equity Shareholders. Profits are reinvested in the co-op or returned to the owners as patronage rebate/dividends.
What will the Co-op sell? The plan for The Community Market Food Co-op is to be full-service. This means that we plan to offer products that are locally-grown and raised, a full line of organics, and nutritious and fairly traded items. We will have produce, meats and seafood, bulk items (flour, beans, cereals, spices, etc), dairy and non-dairy products, frozen foods, paper goods, cleaning supplies and non-perishables and baked goods, and freshly-prepared hot foods and salad bars for dining in or taking out.
Do I have to be an Owner to shop there? Everyone is welcome to shop at the Co-op once it opens – regardless of whether or not you are an Owner. However, Owners receive benefits reserved just for them.
Do I have to volunteer my time to be an Owner or shop there? No, you do not. When the Co-op opens, it will be fully-staffed with employees who will be paid a fair, living wage. Owners are welcome to apply for any of the open positions within the co-op. Both nationally and internationally, cooperative businesses have many Worker-Owners within their workforce.
What are the benefits of being an Owner? By being an Owner you:
• Receive special in-store offers and discounts that may include coupons;
• Receive Patronage Rebates/dividend once the store is profitable;
• Are eligible to vote for the Executive Board of Directors as well as to run for a seat on the Board;
• Can participate in events, workshops and classes offered by the Co-op at no or reduced cost;
• Are investing in and supporting our local community and helping keep our local economy strong by promoting local shopping, local products and by providing jobs paying fair wages;
• Help support family farms, fair trade practices, nutritional education, regional artisan foods, organic foods, local employment, healthy food access and sustainability.
How do I become an Owner? It’s easy! You invest a one-time $150 for an equity share. It can be paid all at once or in 3-6 installments of $50 or $25 respectively. More information about Ownership is available at http://thecommunitymarketcoop.coop/ownership/.
How many Owners do you currently have? As of April 2016, we had 468 owners. Ownership is increasing all the time, so for the most up-to-date numbers, please see the counter on our homepage.
How will a co-op grocery impact our local economy? By creating jobs and supporting local producers and suppliers. Profit is never put before the needs and values of the Owners. Here is a great example: The Common Ground Food Co-op in Urbana provided $150,000 for local producers in 2007, its first year as a full service grocery. In 2012, that number grew to $1 million in revenue to local producers.
Where will the store be located? It will be located in Southern Wake County, NC but the exact physical site hasn’t been named yet. Our Board of Directors are working with industry professionals to secure a location that meets the requirements important to our Owners. Soon as we have a confirmed site, you can be sure we will be excited to share it.
When will the store open? Opening a Food co-op is a process that involves three phases. We are currently progressing well through the phases and working towards a (projected) opening in late 2016 to early 2017.
What will the store look like? This will depend on the site location, but based on the Market Feasibility Study that was done in November 2013, we are looking for 7-10,000 square feet (give or take a few). We will also be working with Design Consultants who specialize in food co-op planning.
How can we help make this happen?
• Become an Owner!
• Stay informed about the Co-op through our newsletter, social media accounts, annual meeting and events calendar.
• SHARE THE CO-OP story with all your “Circles of Influence” (friends, family, co-workers, church members, civic groups, etc). Distribute our Co-op brochure. Share our social media post. Contact us to schedule a presentation for a group or organization.
• Become a volunteer! (Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for details about getting involved!)
What has The Community Market accomplished so far? TCM coop has grown from an idea to an incorporated entity in just a few short years. To see our full list of accomplishments/timeline, please visit our “About Us” page on the website.
Seems like it’s taking forever to open the store. Why is it taking so long? As mentioned above, the start-up of a food co-op is a multi-phase process. While it seems a bit long and drawn-out, it is important to properly go through the phases to ensure the independence and sustainability of the business. All well-planned and executed businesses go through this, but in a co-op transparency is in the forefront because all the owners are equal, and our community is our major stakeholder. The Community Market is right on target reaching its goals and progressing everyday toward opening. We all look forward to the day when we can open the doors and shop alongside you!
What is the Board of Directors’ role and is anyone else involved in getting the co-op started? The Executive Board is an elected body responsible for overseeing the affairs of the co-op on behalf of the Owners. The board must act as whole; individual directors have no authority outside of the board meetings, except as delegated by the board as a whole. They have three main responsibilities: To act as trustees on behalf of the members; To ensure sound management of the co-op; To set long-range goals and plan for the co-op’s future. You can read our Board Members’ bios here.
The Community Market is also working with CDS Consulting Co-op. They are a cooperative consulting company that specializes in helping Co-ops get started as well as to provide on-going training to board members and staff.
Additionally, in August 2014, the board voted to hire the co-op’s first Outreach Coordinator who was the first “official” Worker-Owner of The Community Market. She is working to increase community awareness of the co-op through marketing, outreach and events/program development. Have an idea to share? Please send it to email@example.com.
What is a “pro-forma”? A pro forma is a tool used to analyze a project’s financial feasibility. It consists of a “Sources and Uses” Budget that balances the sources of financing with the uses of funds. It also includes 10 years of financial projections based on historical operating data, cash flow projections and a debt schedule.
What if I have more questions? Awesome ask away!! We want all of our Owners and customers to feel free to contact us with any questions or feedback you may have. Remember as a co-op, we are in business to serve our Owners and the local community so we’d love to hear from you.