What is a cooperative business, anyway? “Cooperatives are member-owned, member-governed businesses that operate for the benefit of their members according to common principles agreed upon by the international cooperative community. In co-ops, members pool resources to bring about economic results that are unobtainable by one person alone. Most simply put, a cooperative is a business: • Voluntarily owned by the people who use it, and • Operated for the benefit of its members.” (https://www.ncg.coop/what-co-op)
You may be familiar with some of these local co-ops: SLO Natural Foods- a co-op grocery store in San Luis Obispo--anyone can shop, but member-owners get savings Farm Supply - a farmer owned co-op, local since 1950 Federal Credit Unions - financial co-ops meant to provide low-cost services to their members Miner's ACE and Blake's True Value Hardware Stores - buying co-ops that are owned by local individuals, but the stores band together to buy in bulk
Nationally, co-ops are a big deal: Land O' Lakes, REI, Ocean Spray, Blue Diamond Growers (which had a processing plant in Paso Robles in the early 20th century!), and many more.
How much does it cost to join? Full member-ownership is $300, a one-time cost for lifetime benefits. We also offer payment plans--see our Join Now page for details, or Contact Us.
So, what's in it for me? There are many direct benefits to you, including a membership thank-you gift bag, a say in the store's operations and more. Overall, the co-op will benefit the community as a whole too. See our Benefits page for details!
Where is the PRFC located? The project has recently entered the Membership Drive Phase. There is currently not a brick and mortar location. Once we reach 500 members things will start to get rolling physically.
When will the store open? Well, that’s up to you! Join now, tell your family, friends and neighbors. The faster we get to 500, the faster we get a store. Ideally, we would break ground in 2018 but it really does depend on people like you. This is a community owned grocery store. We aren’t going to a few select investors for financial backing. We are building this one member at a time, and it might take a little longer, but we truly believe the old adage…good things take time.
Who are the people behind the co-op? The co-op is being organized by an amazing group of volunteers. We could always use more! We are depending on the efforts and support of community volunteers to make all decisions, do business planning, grant writing, and develop plans. Do you have a set of skills that you think could benefit the co-op movement? Please contact us!
How are memberships, pledges and donations spent? Currently, the co-op is in full savings mode. We are creating that nest egg of a down payment for our future store. We utilize a volunteer staff and keep costs minimal. Also at this stage in our development, we are pursuing grants to help us achieve our goal of a brick and mortar store in Paso Robles. The more members that have invested their money into the co-op, the more likely we are to receive grant funding. We will use grant funds and membership funds to produce pamphlets and promotional materials about our co-op, to open a business bank account, to conduct a feasibility study that will help us to organize the business and position it for long-term success and viability.
Can I get my money back? If approved by the board, yes you can. There are stipulations that must be met but the money is refundable/partially refundable in certain situations. We have more specifics in our by-laws. You can always contact us for more information.