Monthly Archives: December 2015

Appreciating the Diversity of Member Needs and Motivations

By Marilyn Scholl 140 January - February - 2009 In my work with food co-op boards and staff over the past 30 years, one of the questions I have often encountered is this: How can we get more people more involved at the co-op? The question has prompted a lot of soul-searching and hand-wringing. Co-op leaders intuitively believe that member involvement is vital to [...]

Analyzing Your Store’s Systems

By Mary Myers, Walden Swanson 042 September - October - 1992 This is the third in a series of articles based on Business Planning For Cooperatives, a manual published by Cooperative Development Services that provides step by step Instructions for writing business plans. This manual is based on the principles of systems analysis, which recommend an analysis of each of a retail co-op's key [...]

Boycotts and Democracy – The Eden Foods Product Boycott as an Opportunity to Renew Co-op Participation and Democracy

By Todd Wallace In the summer of 2014, a Supreme Court ruling in the case of Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby led the CEO of Eden Foods, a prominent organic foods producer, to revive an earlier 2013 court case arguing that the company be exempted from paying for its employees to receive birth-control, as required by the Affordable Care Act. The company’s lawyers cited the [...]

Operational Wisdom from General Managers

By Thane Joyal 181 Nov-Dec 2015 Successful cooperatives are guided by strong boards, and those boards rely on strong individuals to manage the cooperative’s business enterprise with excellence. The nature and quality of the board-general manager (GM) relationship, for better or worse, influences nearly all the myriad factors that lead to a cooperative’s success. The relationship is not simply that of employer and employee. [...]

Cooperative Acronyms

4-in-3 — Four Cornerstones in Three Stages :A development model for food co-ops. 4PCG — Four Pillars of Cooperative Governance :A governance model for co-ops. ACBA — Austin Cooperative Business Association :a joint project between Austin-area cooperatives and the National Cooperative Business Association that aims to benefit and expand cooperative businesses in Central Texas. The ACBA plans to help increase the membership and profitability [...]

Components of a Successful System of Accountable Empowerment

Accountable Empowerment It is always important for a co-op board of directors to have good systems of accountability in place to provide proper and strategic oversight of the general manager.  With strongly increasing demand for natural and organic products resulting in more pressure from competitors, cooperatives need to strengthen operations, and at the same time effectively communicate the value the cooperative brings to its [...]