Author Topic: NEED INFORMATION ON CO-OPS  (Read 5381 times)

Offline BerserkerPrime

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NEED INFORMATION ON CO-OPS
« on: May 31, 2009, 10:47:54 AM »
I'd like to draw on the vast, deep knowledge and experience of our forum members on the subjects of CO-Ops.  I've heard of them over the years, but never experienced or used them so here are my questions:

1. How do they work?

2. Do you use them and how do you like them?

3. What are the benefits?

4. Have you run into regelutory problems with them?

5. What are your suggstions in dealing with them? 

Hope you all can get me knowed up on the subject! 

v/r Berserker Prime


Offline cartpusher

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Re: NEED INFORMATION ON CO-OPS
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2009, 09:34:54 AM »
Portland, Maine has quite a buyers co-op going for groceries right now.  You can check them out at: http://www.portlandfoodcoop.org/

I am in the process of trying to set up the same model here in Buffalo, NY.  For this model you basically fill out an order each week on-line and then pick it up at a central location that the group rents for a few hours that day.  We currently have the Lexington Co-op here, that has a traditional retail store, which to me is a failure at this point.  They moved into a new upscale building and their prices are extremely high (most likely to cover their debt payments).  They are not providing any cost savings to the members.

The Brattleboro co-op in Vermont is one of the best grocery store co-ops I have seen.

As I am in the learning phase myself, I am probably not the best person to try to answer the rest of your questions.

Offline oregoncactus

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Re: NEED INFORMATION ON CO-OPS
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2009, 05:56:01 PM »
I am not sure if this qualifies, but it might, so I'll post it.

I joined a drop point for Azure Standard.  We are able to order once per month online (or by phone or fax - I prefer online).  I buy bulk organic wheat, rice, black beans, pinto beans, lentils, baking powder, corn starch, coconut, cocoa, etc.  I check the prices for their items versus what I can obtain from other sources to decide if I want to order.

I have to order a minimum if $50 if I choose to order that month (I don't have to order every month).  The truck delivers at a set drop point.  You can call Azure Standard and they will tell you the closet drop point and the info you need to contact them and join.  They only deliver to certain areas.

I have been very pleased with the quality of the products.  I have had items I ordered that were not available at shipping time, so you are not guaranteed to get everything you order.  You need to be flexible on the pickup day as the time the truck arrives at the drop point can vary due to unforseen circumstances. 

Overall I am very pleased and will continue to order from them.  I am not affiliated with them in any way except as a satisfied customer.

christi

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Re: NEED INFORMATION ON CO-OPS
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2009, 09:05:17 PM »
Wish I could hepl ya' Prime, but my only experience with a "Co-op" was with the one in Boise.  It turned out to be nothin' but a frickin' Yuppie Foo-foo-berry store!   >:(

Good luck.

Offline TexDaddy

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Re: NEED INFORMATION ON CO-OPS
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2009, 09:34:01 PM »
We by most of our meat through a co-op.  The prices are good and the quality of meat is excellent.

There are many types of co-ops, from utilities to food to farm supplies.

What type co-op are you looking into?

Offline garyb31

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Re: NEED INFORMATION ON CO-OPS
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2009, 09:39:00 PM »
There is one in Oklahoma @ www.oklahomafood.coop. They sell only oklahoma produced food and have a state-wide distribution network. Very nice setup and low prices. The order is open for about a week and then delivery is the following week.

Offline LvsChant

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Re: NEED INFORMATION ON CO-OPS
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2009, 07:09:37 AM »
When we lived in north LA, I belonged to a co-op group and liked it a lot. The main source was UNFI www.unitedbuyingclubs.com where I bought my bulk grain, organics, etc. That was also my source for vanilla beans in bulk. Unfortunately, they won't deliver to clubs in the DFW area, so I am out of luck now. But, the co-op group also expanded into buying from a local goat farmer who had milk, cheeses, eggs... and also a local grower who supplies greens, veges, etc. The group also buys meats once/month from a natural producer.

The whole thing was managed via a yahoo group. You can start your own group if you can get a company to deliver to you. It is pretty easy and a great way to get bulk foods more inexpensively.

Offline nano.

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Re: NEED INFORMATION ON CO-OPS
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2009, 08:43:19 AM »
Portland, Maine has quite a buyers co-op going for groceries right now.  You can check them out at: http://www.portlandfoodcoop.org/

I am in the process of trying to set up the same model here in Buffalo, NY.  For this model you basically fill out an order each week on-line and then pick it up at a central location that the group rents for a few hours that day.  We currently have the Lexington Co-op here, that has a traditional retail store, which to me is a failure at this point.  They moved into a new upscale building and their prices are extremely high (most likely to cover their debt payments).  They are not providing any cost savings to the members.

The Brattleboro co-op in Vermont is one of the best grocery store co-ops I have seen.

As I am in the learning phase myself, I am probably not the best person to try to answer the rest of your questions.

you also have the onion river food co-op in Burlington, VT.

Offline cougar

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Re: NEED INFORMATION ON CO-OPS
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2009, 09:36:58 AM »
We have one here in southern illinois and i love it.  They get as much local produce as possible and when not available locally they seek out organic/sustainable agriculture when possible.  If you buy in (annual fee) you get discounts and special offers even if you don't sell your stuff through them.  I have never become an owner but like buying my produce there (especially during times of year when we have nothing in our garden or when the farmers market is out of season).  Here is our local cooperative website: http://www.neighborhood.coop/    Granted you arent driving here but it gives you a feel for a different one.                                As far as other issues, We have had no problems with regulatory/safety, etc.  Most of the growers are selling to other places as well so it is more like a local grown grocery store.

Offline BerserkerPrime

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Re: NEED INFORMATION ON CO-OPS
« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2009, 08:13:44 PM »
We by most of our meat through a co-op.  The prices are good and the quality of meat is excellent.

There are many types of co-ops, from utilities to food to farm supplies.

What type co-op are you looking into?

I think we have an energy coop here.  I was looking at food COOPS and I think I finally found one and will investigate this next break. 

So far, it looks to be a pretty positive process and will hopefully find a couple in my area.

BP


Offline garyb31

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Re: NEED INFORMATION ON CO-OPS
« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2009, 11:43:42 AM »
This is an older topic but maybe someone will see this. Azure Standard has expanded its operations to at least as far east as Northeast Oklahoma. There is not a drop point in Fairland OK and there may be another one opening soon in Joplin Missouri.

Offline BerserkerPrime

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Re: NEED INFORMATION ON CO-OPS
« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2009, 12:11:37 AM »
No such thing as an old topic!  Thanks for the info and hope it helps somebody!

BP

Offline Stein

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Re: NEED INFORMATION ON CO-OPS
« Reply #12 on: September 02, 2009, 11:22:34 AM »
Here is my stab at it.


1. How do they work?  You pay a fee to become a member.  All of that money is pooled to pay all or part of the operating expenses and the store then buys stuff and makes it available for sale.  The idea is that they buy in bulk, have little to no frills and don't need to make a profit like a regular store does.  They often also focus on specific types of food like organic, local, etc. that aren't readily available elsewhere.

2. Do you use them and how do you like them?  Yes, we are a member at one and like it.  Most of the time you can get a temporary trial membership or even buy without a membership if you pay a slightly higher rate, like 10%.  You can always window shop for free.

3. What are the benefits?  Access to food I cannot find elsewhere, support the food producers I want to and sometimes lower prices.  It is also usually very easy to special order stuff like big bags of grain without having to try to explain that to the 17 year old kid at Safeway who has no idea how to do it or if they can.  Many co-ops also have classes, information brochures, recipes and other stuff that can be useful.  Our co-op gives a free banana to every kid every visit.

4. Have you run into regelutory problems with them? No.

5. What are your suggstions in dealing with them?  Not sure what problems one would run into.

Hope you all can get me knowed up on the subject! 

v/r Berserker Prime



Offline BerserkerPrime

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Re: NEED INFORMATION ON CO-OPS
« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2009, 06:27:35 PM »
Not sure what your post is there Stein......

Offline Stein

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Re: NEED INFORMATION ON CO-OPS
« Reply #14 on: September 08, 2009, 11:17:13 AM »
I posted answers to the questions you asked.  Isn't that what you were looking for?  Maybe I missed the boat.

Offline Bloodyboots

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Re: NEED INFORMATION ON CO-OPS
« Reply #15 on: September 29, 2009, 12:38:53 AM »
Hope this might help, we've been members of our co-op for four years, and while the occcasional profit re-payment is nice, the lower costs are what has kept us members, here's our Q&A page. Linky

Offline BerserkerPrime

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Re: NEED INFORMATION ON CO-OPS
« Reply #16 on: September 29, 2009, 07:55:18 AM »
Thanks Stein and Bloodyboots!  This is huge help.  Guess my area hasn't picked up on the idea, but hope it will. 

V/r BP

Offline Cool Blue

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Re: NEED INFORMATION ON CO-OPS
« Reply #17 on: January 01, 2010, 06:19:34 PM »
There's a lot of Co-Ops in Canada especially in the western provinces.

Most people here when they think of "Co-Op" they think of the Co-Op brand stores like this one:

http://www.saskatooncoop.ca/

However, co-operatives can actually be any type of business where the customers of the business are also the owners/shareholders.

There's a town not far from where I live that has a very well organized co-op.  They run a number of businesses including two gas stations, grain companies, a mini Home Depot-style store and a grocery store.

http://www.coopembrun.com/services.html

When you purchase something at one of these business the cashier will ask if you're a member of the co-op and if you are you get a discount.  At the end of the year the profits from the businesses are split among the members.

Co-op housing units are also pretty common around here.  Sometimes these buildings are run in such a way that the higher income residents subsidize the rent of the lower income residents.

Offline BerserkerPrime

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Re: NEED INFORMATION ON CO-OPS
« Reply #18 on: January 07, 2010, 12:48:16 AM »
Thanks Cool Blue.

I did finally found a CO-OP here and will give it a try soon.  The value is obvious, just not used to using one.

BP

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Re: NEED INFORMATION ON CO-OPS
« Reply #19 on: January 07, 2010, 03:18:06 PM »
Hey Bp
we have one down here for food and such that used to be a pretty good. It still is for light stuff but their shipping has gotten pretty steep. What we do is send in our order by a certain date then like 2 weeks later we can pick it up at the coop location and we just give them a check or card or what ever. Is there a coop up there? I loved getting my milk and stuff by the case but the shipping got to be way to much.
Skiffgirl

Offline BerserkerPrime

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Re: NEED INFORMATION ON CO-OPS
« Reply #20 on: January 07, 2010, 10:40:02 PM »
Hello there skiffgirl!  I found one in Anchorage that orders Azure Standard once a month.  It's for bigger things like bulk grains, honey, etc.  I'm going to try them out next month.  Your right about shipping, pisses me off, but apparently their getting a deal on shipping.  I used Ship to Alaska for 2 large bulk food purchases and though it was cheaper than UPS, it was still wicked expensive.  Plus if a shipment arrives at the airport, they get to be a real pain in the ass about getting out there to pick it up.  If I'm on Slope, it's a pain in the ass.  Oh well......

BP