What is a Co-Op Business, and How Do You Start One?

LIVE at The Line Hotel in Adams Morgan in partnership with Full Service Radio... 

The Tidbit, brought to you by Cureate, digests this region’s small business landscape through food and beverage entrepreneurship. Tune in for trending new Tidbits at the top of the show, and then live interviews with business owners throughout the DC & Baltimore Metro Areas. Each week show host Kim Bryden will intertwine socio-cultural context, personal narrative, and business advice at The Tidbit. 

EPISODE 05: WHAT IS A CO-OP BUSINESS, AND HOW DO YOU START ONE?

A FEW QUOTES:

  • The retail landscape is changing. Amazon acquired Whole Foods Market. Kroger in talks with Alibaba (online marketplace, sometimes compared to Amazon but based in China)... If other retailers can’t compete on convenience or price point, how can one survive? 
  • "TPSS Co-op is a member of National Cooperative Grocers, an organization which includes more than 100 co-ops around the country that work together to optimize resources, strengthen purchasing power, and offer more value to owners."
  • How do you stay connected in a world that wants you to constantly hide behind a screen? Maybe you should consider joining a co-op.
  • Three major economic concepts: LLCs, communism, and cooperative model. 
  • Over a billion people in the world belong to some sort of cooperative, doing trillions of dollars in business, millions are employed by cooperatives. 
  • Many Fortune 500 businesses in the USA are cooperatives and people don't even realize it: Associated Press, Ocean Spray, Organic Valley, Your Credit Union!
  • The first modern cooperative [...] was a basic consumer-owned cooperative (like TPSS) and that became a model that was replicated into many different industries and forms — co-ops owned by consumers, by farmers, by depositors, by business members. 
  • 7 Universal Co-op Principles: [examples] Open and Voluntary Membership, Democratic Economic Control, Economic Information.
  • 1 Person - 1 Share - 1 Vote
  • 7th Co-op Principle: Cooperative amongst Cooperatives
  • Co-ops: Stronger Together
  • The threat of the big — a small business is challenged by a mega-corporation. Sometimes people give up hope that the mom-and-pop owners won't be able to survive. 
  • For a long time, small footprint grocers [...] hung in there by having a group purchasing cooperative. 
  • The efficiencies! Instead of having 20 people placing orders for peanut butter, they can all get it through their co-op. 
  • The reason why co-ops work is that there is some sort of connective tissue other than the business function. 
  • Baby Boomer business owners can't find a buyer (the silver tsunami!) so consider the cooperative business model [...] and have your employees take ownership.
  • Co-ops are created, often, when the market is failing. 
  • Email Rodney with your co-op questions!
     

SHOUT OUTS & RESOURCES:

STAY IN THE KNOW


GET INVOLVED

We will feature three entrepreneurs and their projects to be granted the funds raised through this podcast. By donating, YOU will get to vote on which project receives the funds.

That’s right — YOU have the power to put your dollars straight into the local economy by funding these projects. Join us!