Co-op Principle #1: Open & Voluntary Membership; in this installment filmed for the 2019 Cooperative Cafe series, LaDonna challenges us to deeply examine 'Openness' and 'Voluntary' at our own co-ops. Can we see ourselves in the Co-ops' story? Can our neighbors? Even when we struggle to compete to be seen or heard in the crowded marketplace, cooperative have a competitive advantage when it comes to being an inclusive, welcoming community gathering place.
At Columinate, we are catalysts for common good. Our member-consultants share strategies, tools, and skills to help purpose-driven organizations build and empower community. From the city to the suburbs and beyond, co-ops are both the foundation and the backbone of strong communities. Our role is to illuminate solutions to guide these organizations forward.
Consultants bring innovation, passion to the groundbreaking project (from Left) Corrine Saunders, Kenya Baker, Lela Klein, Wynston Estis and Amaha Sellassie participate in the Gem City Market ceremonial groundbreaking. Dayton, OH September 30, 2019: A groundbreaking engagement is underway between Columinate consultants and Gem City Market in Dayton, OH. The consulting cooperative is providing managers-on-contract to support a 2020 store [...]
Just as we have assisted change in other organizations, we also recognized that it was time for a shift within our own cooperative. Our brand is built one-on-one in the work we do together with clients and consultants, and now we are building a new platform for those relationships. Doing this is part of our long-standing vision to initiate positive change and amplify our impact.
Central Co-op Seattle, WA Year founded: 1978 Number of members: 14,200 Consumer member investment: $100 Worker member investment: $6,340 (12 years) Number of employees: 120 Locations: Seattle and Tacoma (opening date late spring TBD) When the Central Co-op in Seattle, Wash. proposed a vote to merge with the Tacoma Food Co-op in 2015, the memberships of both co-ops overwhelmingly approved it. Both communities saw [...]
The founding vision for Outpost was to be a "safe-haven for people who felt like they weren't included" and Mehnert contends that that mission is truer today than ever. Drawing comparisons to the social rebellions of the 60s and 70s that birthed many of our modern Co-ops, Pam Mehnert General Manager at Outpost Natural Foods in Milwaukee, WI, examines the conditions that our co-ops [...]
In his role as Executive Director of a Non-Profit Young Kim, Board President at Outpost Natural Foods in Milwaukee, WI explores implicit biases that we may bring with us while reaching out to "aid" communities of various ethnic and class distinctions. His is a cautionary tale that warns against bringing in our own preconceptions and baggage while at the same time attempting to erode [...]
By LaDonna Sanders–Redmond Seward Community Co-op (Minneapolis, Minn.) began its equity work in the fall of 2013. Seward’s second store, Friendship, and its first restaurant/commissary production facility, the Creamery Café, both opened in 2015. Building the Friendship Store in an historically African-American community required taking a closer look at the co-op’s commitment to equitable relationships as stated in the Seward ends statement. Taking a deep [...]
By Rebecca Torpie, Thane Joyal 196 May-June 2018 What does it mean to be an owner of a consumer cooperative? At the most fundamental level, cooperative ownership means that we are in business together. And for the owners of a cooperative that is under substantial market pressure (and what business isn’t?), everything the business does needs to match the needs and aspirations of the community that [...]
Business introductions are a networking staple—and they run the gamut from the ho-hum ‘We are here to sell you something’ to the dynamic, ‘We love to support communities and make a difference in people’s lives.’ As co-ops continue to seek out ways to innovate, offer more goods and services, and reach out to new communities, it is worth the investment of time and resources [...]