Get a Number and OWN IT

y Johanna Bergan, Education and Outreach Coordinator

I love how I feel in the Oneota Community Co-op – almost like receiving a gigantic hug when I walk in the door. The store is full of the local, organic food I love to eat. The always-wonderful aroma is different each time because of the Water Street Café’s ever-changing menu. My fellow shoppers are my friends and my community.

My shopping habits center on the Oneota Community Co-op and I cannot imagine this changing. I love the store for its products, people and sense of community, but I also love it because I own it. #3996, my Co-op member/owner number, somehow remains the only number I am proud to be represented by. (Don’t try using it…everyone knows me and knows that you aren’t me!). In all other cases I love my very unique name.

Purchasing food at the Co-op helps my family because we have such a great selection of organic fruits, local vegetables, whole grains in bulk, and lots of gluten-free and vegan options. Buying at the Co-op helps my community since over 20% of Co-op sales are of local products. This means more money and knowledge circulating locally, since the Co-op also employs and educates nearly 50 residents of Northeast Iowa. Shopping for groceries at the Co-op means I create more demand for local, organic, and fair trade products which in turn mean more of these products are made available to consumers everywhere.

Working at the Co-op has many advantages; including knowing exactly what member/owner number is up next in the queue. I might have taken advantage of this knowledge when my family purchased a second member/owner share for my husband Joel. He managed to squeak in at #6000. We were happy to invest another $140 in a business that was doing what we believe in. This second share doesn’t mean anything to us in terms of increased discount, but it does give us both a chance to vote annually for the board members of our choice.

Our family feels good about the investments we have made in and at the Oneota Community Co-op. My daughter is excited that she, too, can buy her own share in the Co-op (at the Co-op anyone 10 years or older may purchase a share and become an owner), but for now she is content to share Mom’s.

No matter what your member number ends up being – use it proudly – and enjoy the Oneota Community Co-op all the more because YOU OWN IT.

Insider’s Note: Really cool numbers that you “might” get if you join the Co-op during the March member/owner drive in 2013: 6868, 6888, 6969, 7,000. Numbers are issued sequentially.