Q. Do I have to be a member-owner to shop?
A. No way! The co-op is open to everyone. Member-owners get great benefits, but please come shop anytime, and bring a friend!
Q. What is a co-op?
A. “Co-op” is short for cooperative, and is defined by the International Cooperative Alliance Statement of Cooperative Identity (adopted September 1995) as “an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise.”
Q. Where is the co-op located?
A. The Co-op is located at 591 Main Street, East Aurora. Based on results of our professional market study, it’s a location that will suit the needs of the community and the market, includes easy access and ample parking, and is centrally located so that we serve not only East Aurora, but the surrounding Southtowns, as well.
Q. Why join now?
A. As a member-owned business, this is a critical time to join! By becoming a member-owner of the co-op today, you are joining with hundreds of others, voting to keep your dollars local, and supporting our local farmers and producers.
Q. What does it mean to be “cooperatively owned?” How is that different from just a regular grocery store?
A. When a store is cooperatively owned, it means that its member-owners are able to shape the direction the Co-op takes, not only by shopping at the store once it’s open, voting with your dollars, but also by participating in the democratic governance of the Co-op via voting and/or running for a seat on the Board of Directors, or even by simply attending a board meeting.
Q. What are the advantages of a co-op over a commercial grocery store like Tops or Wegmans?
A. One of the most important distinctions is that when you shop at a co-op, the dollars stay local. With a co-op, profits are typically either given back to the member-owners, or invested back into the business so that it can continue to grow, create jobs for the community, and offer a wider selection of food. In addition, people who shop at or belong to co-ops often report feeling more connected to their communities, and feel good about keeping the money they earn in their community.
Q. Will the co-op compete with local farmer’s markets?
A. Our answer is “No.” We believe that each will enhance and complement the other. For example, when you buy your beautiful, locally grown strawberries from the Farmer’s Market in June, the East Aurora Cooperative Market will have the organic cream, butter, and flour for your strawberry shortcake, as well as other healthy, delicious grocery items you need. Our goal is to complement the Farmer’s Market, not compete with it.
Q. What happens if the co-op doesn’t succeed?
A. As with any business investment, there are risks. Therefore, when you become a member-owner now, your ownership share is subject to risk. In the end it is possible that the co-op may not be successful and you may lose part or all of your investment. However, the board, management and staff are wholeheartedly dedicated to seeing this to fruition and are making every effort to ensure the success of the Co-op.