Monday, June 11, 2012

Lake County Community Co-op to offer owner shares

Lake County Community Co-op booth at 2009 Earth Day celebration
Lake County Community Co-op booth at 2009 Earth Day celebration in Middletown

The Lake County Community Co-op will begin offering owner shares, “a distinctive feature of cooperative enterprises,” according to publicist JoAnn Saccato.

I treasure my owner-membership in the Ashland Food Co-op in Ashland, Ore.; I feel a sense of ownership, plus it gives me a connection to my adopted community even though separated by distance. I am glad to see the Lake County Community Co-op offering this option to its membership.

Saccato notes that the co-op is readying for its next phase in expansion during the year determined by the United Nations to be the International Year of Cooperatives.

According to Saccato, these expansion efforts include the launch of a new website and freshened logo, new online shopping software, owner-share purchasing, sales to the public and subscription sales.

“Shopping through the co-op will not be interrupted during the launch.”

In a press release distributed this week to the local media, Saccato noted that the first phase of recent expansion included home/office delivery, telephone ordering, expanded product offerings and extended shopping hours:
“Started in 2008 as a grassroots effort by local citizens to acquire fresh, affordable organic and local food, the co-op started an online ordering and distribution system, which has expanded to include 10 pick up sites (drop points) throughout Lake County.
“The new website and ordering software, due to launch in June, offer a more user friendly ordering system and non-member purchasing opportunities. In addition, a subscription option where customers can order any item, such as a fruit and veggie box, and automatically receive it on a weekly basis will be available.
“In conjunction with the new launch, the co-op will begin offering owner shares, a distinctive feature of cooperative enterprises. Rather than be charged an annual user fee to shop through the co-op, customers will now be able to choose between three levels of membership: non-owner, owner and owner-worker.
“Non-owners will be able to enjoy local, regional and distributed products offered through the co-op on a weekly basis. Owners will be those who work toward the purchase of 12 shares over time at $25 per share, totaling a $300 investment. Owners will receive a discount on purchases made through the co-op, as well as be eligible to receive patronage refunds when the co-op generates surpluses. Owner-workers, those owners who work a minimum number of hours throughout the year at the co-op, will be eligible to receive additional discounts.
 “While readying for the launch, the co-op continues to offer its weekly online ordering and distribution services and encourages residents to visit its website at or call 707-993-4270 for more information.”
Published June 12, 2012 in the Lake County Record-Bee

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