What is a Co-op?
A cooperative is a business with certain unique characteristics. A
cooperative business is owned and democratically controlled by its members -
people who have organized to provide themselves with needed goods and
services. A cooperative is voluntary, and operated for the benefit of
its member-owners. A cooperative takes advantage of economies of scale
by pooling buying power. A cooperative returns any profits - after
bills are paid and money is set aside for operations and improvements - to
the co-op members.
Co-ops are Everywhere!!
Four out of every ten Americans have come to depend on cooperatives for a
range of goods and services. There are consumer-owned cooperatives
selling clothing, appliances, camping gear, bicycles and books. There
are cooperative wholesalers providing products, branding and other services
to independent hardware, grocery and natural foods businesses. There
are co-ops disseminating news and photographs, and co-ops for the arts
community. There are cooperatives that provide electricity and
telephone service. By nature, credit unions and mutual insurance
companies are cooperatives because they are member-owned. There are
thousands of agriculture co-ops and cooperatives providing financing to
farmers. There are cooperatively organized employee-owned companies,
cooperative purchasing groups for fast-food franchisees, and, of course,
The Institute has a new and revised publication available!
"Do You Know Your Cooperative" published
by the Iowa Institute for Cooperatives contains 191 common questions and
answers about cooperatives. It was written primarily as a compact
source of cooperative information for members, young people, employees, and
others interested in or connected with farmer cooperatives. Efforts
have been made to limit each question to one idea, and to make the answers
as short and direct as possible.
If you are interested in purchasing a copy, please contact
us. Single copy cost is $5.00. Prices for quantities are