The Old Creamery Co-op
Become a Member-Owner
Click here to download an Ownership brochure,
read about your, and the community benifits of the co-op.
Become an Owner! And support an important community asset.
Fill out the Member-Owner form and give it to the cashier with your selected payment option, or you can mail it to us with your check. That's it!
Making It Work—Member Equity
A $150, one time payment makes you a Member-Owner of the Old Creamery Co-op. Pay all at once or, if needed, use time payments. A $15 initial payment (minimum) followed by $15 per month for the following nine months. As long as your membership is fully paid within a year you can enjoy all the benifits of member-ownership and the good feeling of supporting our Hilltown Community Co-op.
As a member-owner, your benefits will include:
- Pride in keeping the Old Creamery a vibrant and sustainable community resource for years to come.
- A voice in the Co-op’s decisions.
- Eligibility to vote for and serve on the Board of Directors.
- Access to the Co-op’s future Patronage Dividend Program when declared by the board.
- Membership in UMassFIVE Credit Union
- Storewide discounts on Member-Owner Appreciation Days. (Generally held four times per year)
- Discounts on special case orders.
- The opportunity to directly support important local priorities through job creation, supporting local food growers and suppliers, and fostering cooperation among people, businesses, towns, and area organizations.
Like to become a member-owner but don't think you can afford it?
For people where even $15 per month is not currently possible they can apply for a no interest two year loan from our Relvolving Equity Fund (REF). The loan, if approved, will buy a full membership that the Member-Owner can pay back when their situation improves. Call or Email the General Manager and ask for a REF application.
Some Co-op Fundamentals
All cooperative businesses are owned by their members. This is a fundamental principle to the concept of a co-op. Co-op member-owners contribute money to purchase equity in the business. With this equity, member-owners get a say in how the business is run by electing the Board of Directors, which hires and supervises the general manager, who hires and supervises staff and runs the day-to-day business operations.
Member-owners have numerous opportunities to provide input into the mission, priorities, and programs of the business. Co-ops are founded on democratic principles. Member-owners vote on all matters brought before them by the Board of Directors. One person, one vote.
The cost of an equity share in the co-op is established by the Board of Directors based on the capital needed to establish/operate the co-op. From time to time over the life of the co-op, the board may determine that there is a need for additional capital and may increase the amount of required owner equity. (Typically this is done when there are expansion/relocation initiatives or major capital improvement to the existing co-op, which are initiated or supported by the member-owners.) Most co-ops offer some option for making equity payments over time to ensure that ownership opportunity is available and accessible to as many people as possible. Member-ownership in the co-op is always voluntary. Member-owners may choose to leave the co-op at any time and may request a refund of their equity. (For example, an individual might move out of the area and not want to continue membership in the co-op.) The Board of Directors has the right to determine the timing of return of equity, based on the best interests of the co-op.
In addition to purchase of the initial member-owner equity share, many co-op supporters also choose to provide additional financial support to the co-op. Additional support may be offered in the form of gifts.
It is important to note that all businesses have an element of risk. A co-op is no different. In most cases, the member-owner’s risk is limited to his or her equity investment in the business. Some exceptions, for example, are if the member-owner also provides a loan to the co-op, or if the member-owner serves on the Board of Directors of the the co-op.
Most co-ops are for-profit businesses. And many co-ops measure themselves on the “triple bottom line,” making sure that they have positive performance in the successful operations of the business, and also in the social and environmental impact of their work.