Basket of Vegetables

Food Cooperatives

What’s so special about a co-op anyways?
Co-ops are special for a lot of reasons, but the main reason is we own it! We get to make decisions about the direction of our store and build community wealth, not to enrich distant stockholders. Co-ops worldwide ascribe to a set of 7 Cooperative Principles and on average feature more local products, support local growers and producers, and keep more of their money working in their communities. Cooperatives support fair treatment of their own employees and the workers and growers throughout their supply chain. Co-ops tend to be more environmentally conscious, support sustainable purchasing, recycle more, etc. Check out what else co-ops do for communities, both local and global!

Are co-ops a new thing?
No! Ben Franklin opened the first cooperative business in the US, and the ‘modern’ grocery cooperative movement began in 1844! And right now in the US there are more new co-ops in development than in the last 25 years combined. Hop on this train!

MFC Basics

What can I do to get a cooperative-owned, natural foods grocery store in Montavilla?
The biggest and most important thing you can do is JOIN US! And then start telling your friends and neighbors about the co-op and get them to join too! You can also work on a committee, run for the board or help out at events. Check our events calendar, Facebook page, or email us for more ideas!

Why should I become a member of MFC before the store is open?
There are many reasons to join now, but we think the most important is that because the faster we grow our membership, the faster we open the store! We also have many current member incentives to take advantage of. Our membership is open to everyone and we have many payment plans available. We hope you will join our effort to open a food cooperative in our neighborhood!

How much does membership cost?
Our membership is a one-time cost of $150  (can apply to and individual or a household), and we have payment plans available.

Is my membership money at risk?
We are using the membership money as part of the funding needed to open our store, so yes, it is at risk. We are doing our best to mitigate the risk of opening a business by following a proven model and contracting with national experts to improve our chance for success. The good news is that retail grocery co-ops have a better success rate than most new retail businesses!

Is there a food buying club or anything else in place before you have a store?
We are a volunteer-led organization with limited capacity outside our ability to build membership, engage current membership, and continue working toward opening a store. Because of this, we do not currently have the capacity to also run a food buying club or the like.

The Future of MFC

When will the co-op open?
We wish we had a specific answer to this question. We do not currently have a specific date for opening the store, as it is dependent on so many factors, some that are within our control (e.g., completing a market study) and some that are not (e.g., the real estate market). Right now, the most important things are to continue building our membership and preparing materials that we will eventually take to the bank. You can find more information on where we are at and our next steps by viewing our development timeline. This fall we will be engaging in a detailed timelining process with a national expert on co-op start-ups and we hope to have more specific information soon!

In the meantime, the best thing you can do to help us open a store quick is to join and encourage your friends and neighbors to join! We are an all-volunteer organization that is working diligently and carefully, following a plan that has worked with other successful co-op startups around the country. We are taking the time to do this right, and we want it open as soon as possible too.

Where will the Co-op be located?
We hope to locate the co-op in Montavilla, but there are a lot of factors we need to consider – real estate availability, building size, parking, cost, delivery truck access and visibility are just a few. The Co-op was established by a group of neighbors in Montavilla and we would like to serve the greater Montavilla area. We are searching for the best possible site taking into account these factors, and as soon as we sign a lease we’ll let you know where we’ll be! Luckily, our market study confirmed Montavilla is a great neighborhood in which to open a co-op!

Will I have to be a member to shop at the co-op?
No! Our co-op will be open to everyone! But members will get some additional benefits, like profit-sharing, member appreciation discount days, having a voice in important decisions (such as product mix), and the opportunity to invest in our Member Investment campaign.

What will you sell in the store?
We are concentrating all our efforts on building our membership and working toward opening a store, and have not gotten to the product selection stage yet. Once we have completed site selection and have details like store size and what departments we will have, we will form a product selection committee.

Do have a question that was not answered here? Email us!