A food co-op (short for cooperative) is a business that draws upon the financial support and “sweat equity” of its member-owners to purchase in bulk and pass along the savings to customers in the form of lower prices. Members “cooperate” by volunteering their time and energy to do the work necessary for the store to function — everything from stocking shelves to recycling cardboard.
By doing the tasks that paid employees perform in retail establishments, co-op members benefit themselves by keeping store overhead — and retail prices — low.
There are about 500 retail food co-ops nationwide. SCFC is one of the handful of food co-ops in New Jersey.
The following links supply information on cooperative business.
- University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives
- National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA)
- One of SCFC’s suppliers, Frontier Natural Products Cooperative, offers interesting information.
- In Delaware, Newark Natural Foods / Newark Community Cooperative hosts an informative website.