"What's so special about member-ownership at YFC?"
At the Co-op, we are owned and governed by our member-owners. What does this mean to you? Here's a list of the benefits:
Owners assure the continuing vitality of their local co-operative grocery store.
Owners who are current on their member fair shares receive discounts.
Owners influence the policies of the Co-op, thereby having a direct, local effect on our economic lives. This influence is exercised by participating, volunteering, voting, serving on the Board of Directors, and by simply making suggestions!
Owners receive higher discounts on bulk and special orders.
Owners who volunteer can receive a working member discount of up to 12%.
Owners contribute to the growth of an independently-owned community business where the control is in the hands of the consumer using the services, instead of corporate stock holders whose primary interest is profit.
"How do I become a member-owner?"
Becoming a member-owner is easy. Just fill out one of our application forms and buy a share in the Co-op -- similar to investing in a company. The total “fair share” investment to be paid is $200.00, which can be refunded to you, should you ever move away. This amount can be paid all at once to earn a Gold Card instantly, or it can be paid in $20 yearly increments (by calendar year) until the full total of $200.00 is reached. New members also pay a $10.00 non-refundable administrative fee the first year they are member-owners.
Active member-owners (anyone who has paid the annual $20.00 fair share) enjoy a 2% discount on eligible purchases and Gold Card holders (those who have purchased the full $200.00 fair share) receive a 4% like discount.
If you ever decide to move or join a different co-op, your fair share investment can be returned to you by submitting a Fair Share Return Form.
Get to Know Your Co-op!
Are you a member-owner but still have questions? It is easier and more fun to shop at the Co-op if you know your way around. That is why we provide monthly orientation sessions entitled "Get to Know Your YFC Grocery Store" (usually on a Monday, Thursday or Saturday). All new member-owners are encouraged to attend, as well as any owners who have not previously attended. You’ll receive a coupon for a 10% grocery discount just for attending the orientation.
This interesting and informative short presentation is given by our marketing coordinator, Lisa Bashert, a longtime Co-op member-owner. She will explain how to estimate bulk purchases using the self-serve scale, where to find containers and bags for bulk products, where items are located in the store, and how the benefits of member-ownership work. You will also learn money-saving information about special ordering, as well as how to earn a higher discount by volunteering at the Co-op. A brief history of cooperative economics and some of YFC's community outreach programs complete the program. Orientation also includes a short tour of the store.
While there is no work requirement for member-owners of the Ypsi Food Co-op, you can share much more fully in the community and energies of the Co-op through volunteering. Volunteers were traditionally the backbone and foundation of the Co-op, handling everything to do with running the store from cheese cutting, purchasing produce at Eastern Market in Detroit, and cashiering. Committees of volunteers created our by-laws and policies, set up procedures of how our business would look and did everything possible to make our store run. Over the years, volunteerism has waned, and positions have been taken over by paid staff. Today, our staff is made up of part-time and full-time employees who are paid at least minimum wage. The Co-op pays required taxes for unemployment, worker’s comp and social security. Currently we have about 25 employees, working about 27,500 hours a year, or 525 per week.
Volunteers still make a vital contribution to the smooth operation of our Co-op, though. Approximately 100 member-owners volunteer over the course of the year. We allow walk-in volunteers who find that they have time to contribute, but the ability to do so is dependent on work needing to be done. We also encourage regular volunteering and becoming a core worker.
To download our volunteer forms and learn more, please go to our main page on Volunteering.