In the world of Corporate America there is one CEO. He is only considered successful when he streamlines the company, cuts quality and or labor in exchange for saving money and is able to report to his shareholders that their stock and profits are up again this quarter.
Cooperatives are run about as opposite from a corporation as possible. We are Owned by our Community. Our Members have purchased an equity share. They are our shareholders. Our friends and neighbors. Folks who believe in an alternative to cheaper is better and that believe in building up a local economy from the bottom up.
These “shareholders” help guarantee the success of a Co-op. With their support and patronage they the Co-op has a chance of surviving in this World of Corporatization. They thrive or struggle together. At our store, it doesn’t mean cutting corners to maximize profits. Quite the opposite. We stick together and stick to our values and to our roots. In the event that profits are more than what we need to run the store properly, we are able to return extra profit to our Member Owners in the form of dividend.
One of the cornerstones of this business model, one of the Seven Cooperative Principles, is the idea of Democratic Member Control. The Member Owners democratically elect a Board of Directors. This Board of Directors are the representatives of the Members.
Our Board is run under the idea of Policy Governance. In order to draw a distinct line between the roles of the Board and the roles of the Staff, there are clear roles for each entity. Staff, obviously, is in charge of running the store. Board, on the other hand, is tasked with overseeing the General Manager (or in this case the General Management Team.) They are to make sure the Food Co-op is operating in a way that preserves the business and that finances are not being wasted. They also are in charge of maintaining relationships and open communication with the Member Owners. This includes Member outreach, Co-op events and also planning elections to maintain their existence.
In general, our Board Members can expect to spend somewhere between 3 and 10 hours per month on Co-op related activities, including a Monthly Board of Directors Meeting and any research or outreach each Member might be tasked with. In exchange, our Board is offered the Staff Discount of 20% off all their Coop purchases. They also have the ability to strengthen their favorite grocery store and help build a strong future for us and the local food economy!
If this sounds like something you would be interested in, you are in luck! We are looking for new Board of Directors!!