Please contact us if you don't find your answer below, or if any answers require clarification.
Watch this quick video and hear from some of our Founding Member-Owners!
1. What will Wasatch Cooperative Market be?
Simply put, it's a grocery store! Specifically, the Wasatch Cooperative Market is a member-owned association working to open a grocery store that sells high quality natural, healthy, sustainable foods, goods and merchandise, with an emphasis on local products, in accordance with our mission and vision. Products sold in the Co-op will reflect our shared goal of a sustainable future for everyone in the community. As a cooperatively owned business, Wasatch Cooperative Market will adhere to the principles and values common to all cooperatives.
2. Why should I become a member-owner of the Co-op?
There are many reasons one would want to become a member-owner. For starters, it allows you to be a stakeholder in a socially responsible, consumer-owned, community-based business. It will allow you to receive the financial benefits of member-ownership (i.e., patronage refunds and/or promotions). You'll be eligible for discount days and advance sales. Also, your ownership will help to promote sustainable agriculture and to preserve the rural landscape and heritage of our state. Finally, you'll be part of a store that prides itself on responsive and outstanding customer service and its ability to share reliable information with consumers.
3. Will you have to be an owner to shop at the Co-op?
No, everyone will be welcome to shop at the store. However, member-owners will enjoy benefits that are not available to non-owners. We will post more information on those specific benefits as we get further along in the process. Check back frequently for more details!
4. How much does it cost to become an owner?
Based on our assessment of capital needs, we have set the cost of one Class A member-owner unit (i.e. the cost of becoming a member-owner) at $300. It is a one-time investment, not an annual fee. The Member-Ownership drive has begun so click here to get started.
5. Once I am a member-owner, is it possible to cancel my membership?
Proceeds from the purchase of member-owner units will be used to pay for operating costs during its development: feasibility and market studies, Outreach materials, and the like. At no time during the the development stage or within 18 months of opening the market is your member-owner unit or any portion thereof redeemable. Following this time period, your member-owner unit will only be redeemable when the Co-op has available capital or when redemption of your member-owner unit will not financially endanger the Co-op. If redemption occurs, the current value of your member-owner unit may be established by the Board of Directors at the time of redemption.
6. Who will benefit from Wasatch Cooperative Market's existence?
Member-owners will certainly garner the most benefit (see #2). However, the Co-op will also benefit the community-at-large through access to fresh food, increased economic development, job creation and training, and livable wages. We also aspire to create various programs and philanthropic activities as part of our commitment to cooperative values and principles. The Co-op will also be great for local farmers, producers, growers, entrepreneurs and artisans, as we plan to emphasize buying local products at align with our other priorities. Cooperatives have been shown to be tremendously effective small-business incubators!
7. Where will the first store be located?
While we have no specific locations at this point, we are generally considering Salt Lake City neighborhoods such as Downtown, the Avenues, the University of Utah area, and Sugar House. Please feel free to suggest additional areas and/or specific locations!
8. Who controls a co-op?
Owners control the direction of the business by electing a Bbard of directors and voting on relevant issues. The elected board will monitor the day-to-day business and operations, set goals, and hire initial staff, and ensure the growth and success of the Co-op. Ultimately, the board is accountable to the owners for its decisions. One will need to be an owner in the Co-op to be eligible to serve on the board of directors.
9. Is Wasatch Cooperative Market a non-profit organization?
No. Although co-ops can be set up as non-profit, Wasatch Cooperative Market is a for-profit business registered as limited cooperative association (LCA) under Utah state law. For-profit status allows us to meet a couple of our primary objectives: 1) provide member patronage refunds and 2) provide funding to support activities in the community that are consistent with our mission and vision. For-profit status also allows us the greatest level of flexibility in conducting our business.
10. How can I distinguish a co-op from other organizations?
The International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) defines a cooperative as "an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise." For more on what a co-op is, please see our About Food Co-ops page. Our consumer-owned food co-op will be a grocery market that sells foods, goods and services while adhering to the seven principles of cooperatives. A co-op is not necessarily a charitable organization or a social service agency, though one of the principles of cooperatives is concern for community.
In the Salt Lake City area there are organizations with 'co-op' in their name doing great work providing low cost food items to community members. There are also agricultural and producer cooperatives. None of these operates as a consumer-owned cooperative, jointly-owned and democratically controlled by the consumers. Ours is the first!
11. What motivates people to form a co-op?
Co-ops return financial gains to their owners, whether through patronage refunds, discounts, or promotions. Co-ops keep wealth in the local economy and provide a stable market for local farmers and producers. Co-ops allow people with shared needs and wants to come together to buy certain products, services, markets, or community based activities. Often, the desire to have a voice in the direction of the business and the products that are sold is a motivator. Many also desire to contribute to the local community through community development activities, and to watch their patronage dollars create good things in the community. It's hard work, but in the end the benefits are many!