All About Member-Ownership...
Although you don’t need to be a Member-Owner to shop at The Coop, we encourage anyone over the age of 18 to become a Member-Owner. Anyone can join, by filling out the New Member-Owner Application and making an initial equity payment. By contributing equity to The Coop, you are supporting an enterprise that helps to sustain our local economy while enjoying other great benefits too! Member-Owner equity (your investment in The Coop) is used to build, strengthen and run your Coop. In turn, The Coop is dedicated to supporting local farmers, bakers, and other local producers. This keeps our neighbors in business, and assures that profits stay invested in our own community.
What is Equity?
Members-Owners pay equity, in other words, they invest in a share of the business and therefore own the co-op where they shop! Member-Owner equity is essential for The Coop's financial well-being. By contributing equity, you are entitled to all the benefits of being a Member-Owner as soon as you make your first payment. Currently, the total equity per Member-Owner is set at $180, which can be paid all at once or in installments. Typically, people opt to pay the minimum equity payment of $15/year. The average Member-Owner saves about $32 a year through Member-Owner discounts (a 200%+ return on their investment!).
You can pay your equity in the following ways:
We will send you an equity statement 30 days before the beginning of the fiscal year. Please note that the equity goal is presently at $180 and it can be subject to change. With Council approval, the equity goal may be increased or decreased depending on our capital needs.
One Member-Owner, One Vote
Hunger Mountain Coop Member-Ownership is structured so that each Member-Owner makes the same contribution and has the same amount of influence over shaping the direction of The Coop. In most businesses, control is typically proportional to the amount of money invested by each party – whomever has the most invested has the most votes or influence over the running of the business. In a cooperative, each Member-Owner has one vote, and therefore equal influence. Member-Ownership at Hunger Mountain Coop is individual, which means that only the Member-Owner who is in good standing (up to date on equity payments) can enjoy the benefits of Member-Ownership. Only Member-Owners can shop using their Member-Owner numbers. Family and friends need to have their own Member-Ownership in order to enjoy those benefits.
Your Investment, Your Choice
If for any reason you wish to end your Member-Ownership, you can fill out an Equity Refund Request Form. This form is also available at the Customer Service Desk or by contacting Member-Owner Services. You can choose to have your equity refunded to you, donate it to our Equity Assistance Program, or donate it to the Hunger Mountain Coop Community Fund. All equity refunds are subject to approval by the Council. Once approved, your equity will be refunded to you, minus a $7 processing fee, usually within two weeks of the approval. If you decide to rejoin The Coop within one year, you will be required to repay the amount of equity you were refunded in order to reactivate your account (per The Coop Bylaws). If it has been a year or more you may rejoin The Coop for $15.
What is a Co-op?
Hunger Mountain Coop Council
Coop Council Resources and Information