Member/Owner FAQS

Have a question that hasn’t been answered here? Email or call us at (563) 382-4666.

What is a co-op?

A co-op is a kind of business that operates for the benefit of its co-owners. Unlike corporately-owned businesses that make decisions primarily to maximize profits, co-ops make decisions to maximize services to their owners and their community.

Any business can be organized as a co-op. Grocery stores, credit unions, housing facilities, child daycares, and hospitals are all good examples of cooperatively run businesses.

Adhering to democratic principles, co-ops provide millions of jobs, stimulate the economy, and enhance the communities that they’re a part of.

Do I have to be a member/owner to shop at the Oneota Co-op?

Definitely not. We welcome ALL customers to shop at the Co-op. There is no additional charge for products if you are not a member/owner. Your cashier will ask if you are a member/owner at the register. Our member/owner sales are recorded by member/owner number. This allows special sale prices to apply to these sales and it is also a record that helps with our dividend process in years we make a profit.

How do I join?

A share in the Oneota Co-op can be purchased right at our cash registers. Just alert a cashier and they will help you fill out our Member/Owner Share Purchase Agreement. The form is quick and the whole process could take just a few minutes. Unless you have questions and then it can take as long as you need!

Why should I join?

The extensive list of benefits can be found on our Membership page (link). But the short answer is: to support your local economic community while having access to healthy, organic food for your family.

How does the payment plan work?

The full cost of a share at the Oneota Co-op is $140.00. However, we offer an option to pay this off over time. The day you purchase your share you must pay a minimum of $20.00, (along with a $5.00 administration fee for the installment plan). Each March 1st your next installment will be due. After seven payments your share will be paid off in full and you will not need to make any additional payments.

While you are paying your installments in a timely manner you are considered a member-in-good-standing of the Oneota Co-op. All member/owner benefits are available to you. If a share installment is not received by March 1st of each year, the member/owner will no longer be considered ‘in good standing’. Member/owner benefits will not be received until payments are brought up-to-date.

How does the monthly discount work?

Every month our member/owners each have one 5% discount to use. This discount can be used on any single shop during the month. All you must do is let the cashier know, at some point during your transaction, that you would like to apply your discount. Our computer system keeps track of everything – so it is easy to find out if you have already used your discount. And each 1st of the month there is another discount for you to use.

Discounts apply to most products in the store. There are a handful of exclusions, listed here: Member Deals sale items, Co+op Deals sale items, milk, eggs, butter, magazines, wine, beer, fresh breads and pastries, and Café items.

Don’t forget about our Member/Owner Senior Discount! Any member/owners who have reached the age of 60 qualify for a 5% discount EACH Monday. Please alert a cashier if you qualify for this discount. We will add the information to your account and the discount will appear each Monday. All you have to do is remember to shop on Mondays!

Discounts may be used together. For example, a monthly discount could be used in combination with a senior discount on a Monday or a monthly discount could be used in combination with our Wellness Wednesday discount.
Wellness Wednesday occurs the FIRST Wednesday of each month. On this day all member/owners receive a 5% discount on all products in our Nutritional Supplements and Body Care departments. All you have to do is be a member-owner and shop on this day to receive the discount. Don’t forget you can also use your monthly discount on this day for extra savings.

What kind of payment do you accept?

Oneota Co-op accepts all major debit/credit cards including Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express, NCG Co-op Gift Cards, SNAP (EBT) cards, checks and cash.

Please be prepared to share your Driver’s license for all out-of-state and non-member/owner checks.

Member/owners may write checks for $20.00 over the amount of purchase.

For your convenience we have a Decorah Bank & Trust ATM located in our entryway. We encourage you to make a choice to use CASH on small purchases. This saves money in banking fees and allows us to focus resources on more important things.

Do I have to work at the Co-op to be a Member/Owner?

Nope! Our Co-op is fully staffed by paid employees and we love our jobs. We are happy to keep doing them and let you do your grocery shopping.

I am studying at Luther College. Should I become a member/owner of the Oneota Co-op?

Yes! Many Luther students choose to take advantage of the benefits of being an Oneota Co-op member/owner. See the answer to the question above in regards to this investment. The $140.00 share price should not push you away. This is a refundable investment. Just think of the Co-op as the caretakers of that $140.00 while you are studying. We will put it to good use in our local economy and if you need it back at a later date see here (link to withdrawal request form).

Do I receive a discount for purchasing a large quantity of product?

Yes, our member/owners receive a 15% discount on any products that are special ordered. Special ordering generally involves buying product by the case. See our Special Order Policy here .

Can I bring my own containers to fill at the store?

Yes and please do so! We encourage all customers to bring their own, clean containers to be refilled each time they shop. See more about shopping in Bulk here.

We also have a reusable container program in our Water Street Café. Get the low down on the Green Plate program here.
There are many ways to let us know your thoughts about the Oneota Co-op – and we really want to hear them! In-store there is a comment box at the Customer Service Desk. These comments are passed directly to our Management Team each week.

From our Contact Us page, you can email a specific staff person with your thoughts or simply fill out the form in the column to the right of the page. Or email with general information. We’ll make sure it gets to the right person.

Please also feel welcome to call us during our regular business hours at (563) 382-4666.

How can I become more involved in the Oneota Co-op?

In so many ways… one of the best ways to help us is to shop here and encourage your friends to shop at the Oneota Co-op. Your grocery dollars sustain us. In addition, you may:

Vote. Oneota is a democratically controlled co-op. Owners take care of their investment by voting for their Board of Directors who can be trusted to oversee that the Co-op is run responsibly.

Talk to the Board. The Board wants to hear from you! Attend monthly Board meetings, held the fourth Tuesday of each month at 5:30 pm. Each meeting begins with Board learning, followed by member/owner comments at approximately 6:15 pm and the General meeting agenda. Meetings are held in the Co-op Kitchen Classroom which is located in the building next to the Co-op retail space.

Run for a position on the Board. Elections are held annually starting in March. Contact the Board if you’d like to run for a position.