Frequently Asked Questions
What is a food co-op?
Also called a grocery co-op, a cooperative (Co-op) grocery 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 Community Market food co-op is slated to be a full-service grocery store. That means it will have all of the departments you would likely find in a conventional grocery store — produce, meats and seafood, dairy, frozen foods, paper goods, cleaning supplies, body products, baked goods, prepared foods, etc. In addition, the co-op will also offer bulk items, such as grains and spices, as well as a hot and cold bar for those who wish to dine in or take out. There will be a strong focus on locally sourced products as well as organic and fair-trade items.
Do I have to be an owner to shop at the co-op?
No! Anyone will be able to shop at the co-op. However, Owners will receive benefits reserved just for them.
Will I be required to volunteer my time at the store to shop or be an Owner?
No. 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.
What are the benefits of being an Owner?
As an Owner you will:
- Receive special in-store offers and discounts that may include coupons;
- Receive Patronage Rebates/Dividends once the store is profitable;
- Be eligible to vote for the Executive Board of Directors or run for a seat on the Board;
- Be able to participate in events, workshops and classes offered by the Co-op at no or reduced cost;
- Invest in and support our local community, keeping our local economy strong, promoting local shopping, local products and by providing jobs paying fair wages;
- Help support family farms, regional artisan foods, local employment, fair trade practices, organics, nutritional education, 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://communitymarket.coop/ownership/
How many Owners do you currently have?
Ownership is increasing all the time. For the most up-to-date numbers, please see the counter on our homepage.
How will a co-op grocery impact our local economy?
Profit is never put before the needs and values of the Owners. Our co-op will create new jobs with fair, livable wages. It will support local producers and suppliers in our community, paying them fairly for their products.
Here is a great example: Common Ground Food Co-op in Urbana, IL 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?
Historically, food co-ops take 5-6 years from concept to store opening. It is a process that involves three phases. We are currently progressing through those phases and are on target.
What will the store look like?
This will depend on the site location, but based on the Market Feasibility Study performed in November 2013, we are looking for 7,000-10,000 square feet, ample parking space (average is 6 spaces per 1,000 sqft) and facilities to include an indoor cafe.. Once a site is finalized, we will be working with consultants who specialize in food co-op planning and design.
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 posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
- Contact us to schedule a presentation for a group or organization.
- Become a volunteer! (Email us at email@example.com for details about getting involved!)
What have you accomplished so far?
We have grown from an idea to an incorporated entity in just a few short years. Our membership has grown to just over 500 members! To see our full list of accomplishments/timeline, please visit Our Progress page on the website.
Why is it taking so long?
While it seems to be a long and drawn-out process, it is important to go through the phases as laid out by countless other co-ops 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 get to know our Board Members 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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?
Anyone may 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.
Become an Owner Today!
Are you ready to invest in a grocery store you can call your own? Together we can do this.