FAQ

What is a food co-op?
The Elk River Area Food Co-op is member owned and directed grocery store that operates for the mutual benefit of the owners and the community at large. Co-op’s are different from your typical grocery store in that they adhere to a special set of principles and values that help guide and set standards for the organization.  A food co-op is democratically run business resulting in a powerful economic force that benefits all those involved. We are dedicated to supporting local as often as possible and holding our products to the highest standard.

Is this a buying club or CSA?
No, this will be a physical grocery store. Open daily, all year round.

Where is the co-op located?

The Elk River Area Food Co-op is a start-up cooperative. We are in the Membership Drive Phase and currently do not have a brick and mortar location. Once we hit around 600 member-owners things will start to get rolling physically. In order for the co-op to open we need to build our membership base for the start up capital and funding it takes to design and implement a storefront. We need to know our community believes in the co-op vision and values, therefore the only way for this dream to become a reality is for YOU to become a member-owner and spread the word!

When will the co-op open?
Well, that’s up to you! Join now, and bring your friends, family, and neighbors along for the ride. We’re as anxious as you to see our store open! However, in order for that to happen we need members. We need roughly 600-800 members to start looking at possible location selection. Our goal is to reach 1,000+ owners before the store operates. Having a committed member base proves to us, and our lenders, that the community supports our vision and efforts. We are building this one member at a time, and it might take a little longer, but we know and understand that good things take time.

Who can shop at the co-op?
When we have established our member base and have a physical store, anyone can shop! The co-op will not be exclusive. It will be a convenient place for anyone and everyone to pick up their healthy, sustainable raised goods. Though it is our members who reap the most benefits!

Why would I invest in the co-op without a physical store present?
As Ghandi once said, what is faith without action? The only way for a store to become a reality is to have a little faith and to put in a little action. By becoming a member you are putting us that much closer to opening a store front. Your commitment and trust proves that having a co-op is important to you and your community. Your investment provides us with the start-up capital needed to design and implement a physical store.

What does it cost to become a member?
You invest ONCE. There are no annual fees or hidden costs. A house-hold membership only costs $100.00. As soon as you register you begin to benefit from a handful of discounts.

If anyone can shop at the store, why should I pay to become an owner?
By becoming a member you are investing in a community operated business, you are an owner. Everyone can shop at a co-op. However, without committed owner-members, there can’t be a co-op. The equity from purchased membership is what keeps us moving forward, it’s building that trust and faith in the co-op vision. A vision rooted in health education and awareness, ethically-just and sustainably produced products, and a desire to strengthen our local economies and communities. If everyone sat back and waited for the store to open, the Elk River Area Food Co-op would never come to fruition. Ask yourself, what is faith without action?

If the store isn’t open, how can I benefit?
Currently we have a handful of partnerships in which you gain benefits while supporting local, small business. As a member you also get special pricing for any of our community classes [held monthly]. Not to mention the peace of mind you gain in supporting local farmers, sustainable agriculture, community involvement, democratic ownership, along with health education and awareness.

Are owners required to volunteer with the co-op?
No, but we encourage it.

We love all the extra hands and help we can get. Learn how you can get involved today. Volunteering is a great way to meet other members and contribute to the co-op. You can run for a seat on our Board of Directors or help with direct marketing. There are endless ways to help us grow, e-mail ElkRiverFoodCoop@gmail.com to discuss ways to get involved.

We have many grocery stores in our community already, why do we need another? 

A co-op, unlike a traditional grocery store, is owned and operated by and for it’s members. The money you spend stays local and you have a say in how things operate. Our goal is to source as much of our products close-to-home as possible, strengthening our communities economy. Co-op’s put people over profit and run on a strong value system. We strive for the highest standards in ethical and sustainable efforts. As a member-owner you have a say in what we provide, how we operate, and input in improvements and growth. Plus, any extra profit left over at the end of the year is returned to our owners as patronage while keeping buying decisions weighted towards local food producers. Your money stays in the Elk River Area Community!

What will happen to my investment if the co-op doesn’t open?
As with any investment, your ownership share is subject to risk. If the co-op is unsuccessful, the Board of Directors will determine distribution of remaining assets. In this unlikely event, every effort will be made to refund the paid portion of your equity share.

Who are the people behind the co-op?
The co-op is being organized by an amazing group of volunteers. We could always use more! We are depending on the efforts and support of community volunteers to make all decisions, do business planning, grant writing, and develop plans.  Do you have a set of skills that you think could benefit the co-op movement? Please contact us!


Have a questions you don’t see the answer for?
E-mail us at ElkRiverFoodCoop@gmail.com-
We would be happy to answer it for you!