You asked, we listened! Below is a list of the most common questions we hear. Is yours not listed? No worries, just shoot us a note and we’ll get back to you in no time.
What is a food co-op?
A cooperative is a business started by people to meet their common needs. To read more about co-ops please visit our All About Co-ops page.
A food co-op is a grocery store that is owned by the people who use it and/or the people who work there. Once the store becomes profitable, we reinvest those profits or return them to the member-owners as patronage dividends. Co-ops give the community more control over its food systems, better serving the needs of the community. Our community is in need of a natural grocer, so our food co-op will focus on local, healthy, sustainable food.
Why a co-op for Northeast Denver / Aurora?
We’ve tried recruiting other natural grocers to the area with no luck. A co-op business structure offers the flexibility needed to adequately serve this diverse region of the Denver metro area. Cooperatives also keep your shopping dollars in the community by creating jobs and supporting local producers and suppliers. Member-owners will get special benefits once the store opens, but most importantly, member-owners joining now will get a voice in building the community that they want!
How does it work?
Community members buy a one time $200 equity share per household that allows them to become member-owners for life. There is no annual fee. Member-owners have the option to run for a position on the board and/or vote in board members to make the major decisions of the co-op on their behalf. Our co-op is democratically controlled with a one-member, one-vote structure. We currently have about 800 members and are seeking up to 2,000 to help capitalize this project so that we can open our doors. Anyone can join at any time.
Why should I join?
As a member-owner you will receive a range of financial and non-financial benefits. The principal benefit of the food co-op will be the goods and services it delivers: convenient access to healthy, whole foods in a friendly community-owned store. Member-owners of the co-p will also receive a portion of the co-op’s annual profits in the form of a patronage refund or dividend (similar to how things work at REI). Member-owners have the benefit of participating directly in making sure the co-op is meeting their needs, through electing board members and participating in annual meetings. Additionally, the co-op may elect to provide other member benefits such as special member-only discounts at the register, access to free events, and the opportunity to invest directly into their own community in order to create community wealth.
Joining before the store opens provides additional benefits such as helping to shape the future of your community. Only member-owners have a say in where the store will be located, how we fill our shelves, and who we hire to work there. Join today to get the most out of your member-ownership.
How do I become a member-owner?
Joining Nourish as a member-owner is quick and easy, and it’s rewarding to know you are supporting the co-op you value. Simply visit our Member-Ownership page, click through to our membership Agreement and Disclosure Form where you can read and agree to our membership agreement and pay your first installment (starting at $25) or entire equity payment in full ($200). Your co-op benefits will begin immediately.
If you prefer do sign up offline, just download and print this form and follow the instructions to sign and mail in the form.
What are my payment options?
It is most beneficial to our co-op that all member-owners pay in full when they first sign up to reduce the burden of managing our invoicing process. However, we do want to be sure that everyone who wants to join can afford to do so, which is why we set up a payment plan system. You can choose between $100/month for 2 months, $50/month for 4 months, or $25/month for 8 months. You will need to sign up for the payment plan of your choice through our online Square store. Moving forward, you will receive an invoice from Square on the 15th of every month, due at the end of each month. If at any time you experience further financial hardship, please reach out to our member-ownership coordinator right away so that we can assist you as best we can.
Please note that Square does charge a small fee for their services, so if you wish to avoid this fee, please just send a check, made payable to: Nourish Community Market, and mail it to Nourish Community Market, PO Box 6225, Aurora CO 80045.
Is my member-ownership equity payment tax-deductible?
No. The co-op is not a non-profit organization–therefore, your equity payments or other contributions are not tax-deductible.
What happens once I become a member-owner?
Congratulations! You are now an official part of building your community-owned natural grocery store. You should receive an email from our membership coordinator shortly after joining, and will be invited to a New Member Orientation within a month. Your member-owner benefits will begin immediately. You’ll be invited to special member-only events year round and asked to attend the annual meeting in September and vote for your new board of directors around that same time.
Do I have to volunteer or be a member-owner to shop there?
While anyone can shop at a food co-op, member-owners typically receive additional benefits (special discounts, dividends, etc.). Member-owners may also vote for and serve on the board of directors, and may take pride in supporting a truly locally owned business. Nourish will provide good jobs in our community and thus will not be reliant on volunteers for store staffing.
Where will the store be located?
The store will be located on the street level of the The Heights at Westerly Creek Village, across the street from the Stanley Marketplace in Aurora (2352 Dallas St.). The Heights will be a new mixed-use development with retail and restaurants on the ground floors and for-sale condos above. For more information, please read our store page.
Westerly Creek Village is a strategic urban redevelopment area for the City of Aurora. It is bordered by Stapleton to the west and north, residential original Aurora to the east and Montview Blvd. to the south. For more information, please refer to the City of Aurora’s website.
What have you done so far?
Nourish is leveraging the nationally accepted development model for food co-op start-ups, four cornerstones in three stages. We are currently in stage 3A, which means we have incorporated, we have elected a board of directors, we have completed our market study, business plan and pro forma, we have hired a project manager and outreach coordinator to professionalize our development, and just recently we were able to sign a lease with contingencies on our location.
Our next steps are to recruit enough member-owners so that we can launch a successful capital campaign. Our lease is contingent on us raising the money we need for this project, but we need at least 1,500 member-owners in order for us to reach our goals. For more detail on our progress, please visit our timeline and history pages.
Are you a project of the Stanley Marketplace?
No. We are an independent community-led effort to open a co-op grocery store in the Aurora/Stapleton area. We were considering the Stanley Aviation building as one possible location, but that turned out to not be a viable option for us as a start-up with needs of 10,000 square feet of retail space. Rather, we have identified a new development project directly across the street from the Stanley Marketplace where we will find our home.
When will the store open?
The average time it takes for a food co-op start-up in the U.S. to go from incorporation to opening its doors is 5-7 years. Given that we incorporated in 2014, the experts would tell us that we should be open between 2019-2021. We are a bit more ambitious than that! Ideally, we would open our doors in 2018. Of course there are many, many factors that could contribute to a delay. Our timeline is contingent on us recruiting 1,500 member-owners so that we can launch our capital campaign and raise the funds we need to secure our lease. There are also many factors that are out of our control such as construction delays, waiting on city permits, city infrastructure projects, developers progress, labor shortages, financing deals, acts of god, and on and on.
Most importantly though, we can’t do this without you! As a community-owned grocery store we need your support. We estimate we’ll need about 2,000 member-owners before we can open those doors, and in addition to the one-time $200 equity payment, we’ll have to raise an additional $1.2m+ to finance the opening of our store. To learn more about our planned capital campaign, please visit the Invest with Us page. To sign up to become a member-owner, please click here.
What other ways can I support?
At this time, the best thing to do is to become a member-owner. Shortly we hope to begin offering member loans, preferred shares, and other financing tools to help capitalize our cooperative which we’ll need to fully capitalize our project.
Additionally, we are in desperate need of both skilled and day-of volunteers for a number of projects. Please check out our volunteer opportunities page to learn more. And don’t forget to join our mailing list and like our Facebook page so you can stay up to date with what’s happening.
Do you have a question that was not answered here? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.