MEMBER = OWNER
When you become an owner of the Belfast Co-op, you are purchasing a share in a vibrant community resource that is democratically controlled by its owners. Owners are entitled to vote in annual elections, as well as on certain policy matters. Benefits of membership include discounts on select items throughout the store (sale items change monthly), as well as discounts on pre-orders in most departments. Spending money at a local business keeps more money in the community, as the Co-op gives priority to local producers, vendors and technicians.
Each month, there are owner-only discounts on select items throughout the store. You will see two different sale signs throughout our store. The green “Co+op Deals” (see below) are discounted for anyone who shops at the Co-op and typically represent a 10-15% discount off of our regular pricing. The red “Member+” are discounted for owners only and typically represent a 15-25% discount. Local offerings will only ever have Member+ pricing.
Owners get a 15% discount on pre-orders. Please ask any of our staff if you have any questions about departments and discounts. Owners over the age of 62 get a 10% discount once per week (on everything except alcohol and periodicals). We also have a quarterly Super Sale Week during which all Owners get to choose one transaction to receive 10% off all items (except alcohol and periodicals). For both the Senior discount and the Owner Appreciation Week discount you will receive a prompt at the register as a reminder until you use your discount. Both discounts must be used during the course of the week in which they are available, or they expire — they cannot be “saved” for future weeks.
Co-op owners can receive a portion of the Co-op’s profits through annual patronage dividends; your portion is determined by the amount you spent in that year. The Board of Directors (BOD) determines annually if the Co-op can afford to distribute dividends. There’s no guarantee, but if the Co-op is fiscally healthy, we all benefit.
OWNER RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Co-op membership requires a $60 equity share investment per adult in the household. This can be paid all at once, or in installments of $20 (for one adult) or $40 (for two, and so on) over three years. In the fourth year and thereafter, there is a $15 annual membership fee for the first adult, and $10 for each additional adult. As long as the Co-op is in sound financial health, your equity is 100% refundable.
Members are owners with Voting Rights. – One Member, One Vote (equal investment/participation). Owners vote in annual Board elections, as well as on certain policy matters.
Owners are encouraged to join us at our annual meeting, our monthly BOD meetings, as well as our quarterly Forums. This provides a great way to stay up to date on the inner workings of your co-op and to have a voice in the decision making process.
As an owner you can participate in our board committees, and once you have been an owner in good standing for six months, you may run for the BOD. Again, this is a fantastic way to get involved and have a voice in how your co-op operates. This is one of the primary ways that we differentiate ourselves from a conventional grocery store.
MEMBERSHIP BUILDS A COMMUNITY CONNECTION
Spending money at a local business keeps more money in the community. The last estimate for the Belfast Co-op was 55¢ of every $1.00 stays in Maine. Whenever feasible, we give priority to local producers, vendors and technicians, so that we in turn reinvest in our community.
Investment in a business that is locally owned and democratically controlled through a BOD elected by membership, who in turn hire and oversee the general manager is at the core of the Cooperative Principles.
READY TO OWN IT?
Download a New Owner Application here or you can sign up at any of our front registers!