by Sabine Rhyne
Shopper Survey Coming Soon!
We'd like to hear from you about how we're doing in our store.
We will be sending out a survey by e-mail to all our shareholders who have current email addresses with us.
We will also have a station set up at the end of the Shareholder Services desk for you to take the survey in the store. This survey is open to all shoppers, and we will encourage as many people as possible to participate.
Please take the time to log in to take this survey when you receive your invitation. It will take about five to ten minutes, and will help us to refine what we do. So, look for an email from us very soon, and/or stop by the station that will soon be set up at Shareholder Services to participate. We want to hear from you!
"Shareholder"? "Member"? "Member-Owner"?
Well over a decade ago, the Brattleboro Food Co-op began to identify its many community owners as "shareholders," to better express the notion of financial ownership and responsibility to all who invest in the Co-op. It also was meant to not seem exclusive, or club-like, as some believe the word "member" connotes. Recently, especially as our society has struggled with our economic institutions and the perception of corporate control, the word "shareholder" has become strongly associated with corporations who are in fact antithetical to cooperatives. In our cooperative, well over six thousand individuals democratically own single $80 shares and cast their individual vote for their board representatives and bylaw amendments, while shareholders in standard corporations own multiple shares, sometimes majority shares, with no egalitarian governance structure. So we are opening the conversation about our nomenclature. We would like to hear your thoughts on the matter, and will be studying this over the next few months to a year as we ponder whether to stay the course, or not. Mull it over, and stay tuned: we will be asking you for your input.
Food For All
It has now been a year and a half since the Brattleboro Food Co-op instituted a needs-based Food for All program, meant to assist food-insecure households with access to healthy and delicious food. This program is open to those who are receiving assistance through 3-Squares Vermont or SNAP, WIC, and SSI, all of which have income components in their structure. People who participate in the Food for All program invest in cooperative ownership, and as long as they remain current, they receive a 10% discount every day of the week.
The BFC has always offered a method whereby individuals who have invested in cooperative ownership can help out with tasks around the store and in the community, extending the Co-op's outreach potential, and in exchange for this time, receive an 8% discount to thank them for their service, as long as they remain current.
The BFC has also long offered a "Senior Discount," open to individuals who have invested in cooperative ownership and who are over 65, to come in and buy food on Tuesdays and Thursdays at a 10% discount. Although age-based entitlements are common in our society, we would like to study this practice. We are looking for a number of shareholders to engage with us in several focus groups to examine the effects of our discount structure and help us think through how the goals of our cooperative are served by current practices. If you are interested in spending some time working on this, please let Sabine know at
, or stop by Shareholder Services to leave your contact information. Thank you!