You are here: You Own It

You Own It!

Imagine walking into a store where you are greeted with a smile, where the staff members are waiting to help you find exactly what you need. Imagine the shelves are lined with all of your favorite products, many of which are grown or produced by people you know. Imagine how it would feel to be able to know that every product has been evaluated by a knowledgeable and dedicated Buyer. Imagine you can talk with the staff and they will listen to you and truly value your feedback and ideas. Imagine that you have a voice and a vote – that you can elect who sets the policies and direction of the store. Imagine that as this business grows and profits, you could get a share of the profit in the form of check delivered to your home. 


Wouldn't it feel like this was your store? That you owned it? 


As a member-owner of Hunger Mountain Co-op, you are just that, an owner of the Co-op. Not many people can say that they own the store where they shop, but at our Co-op this vision is a reality that anyone can be part of. Membership at the Co-op is $180 but you can choose to pay by installments of just $15 per fiscal year (July-June). That means you can join today for only $15! Just fill out a new member application and bring it to the Customer Service Desk.

See the entire list of member-owner benefits here.

Learn all about member-ownership here.

What is a Co-op?

A cooperative (or co-op) is a business organization owned by a group of individuals for their mutual benefit. Co-ops are unique because everyone makes an equal investment to become a Member-Owner of a co-op and has the same amount of influence over shaping the direction of the business they own. Co-ops are a sustainable business model in which individuals identify a need in their community, create a co-op to address the need, and sustain the endeavor with their patronage and participation. Types of co-ops include producer co-ops, housing co-ops, electric co-ops, day-care co-ops and even banking co-ops (credit unions).


Natural foods co-ops were created in the 1970s when individuals found it difficult to access healthy, organic and unprocessed foods at grocery stores. Individuals organized co-ops to harness the collective buying power necessary to place orders and build connections with producers, vendors, and farmers. Their efforts hugely influenced the development of the thriving organic and natural foods industry that we have today.


All co-ops operate under the Seven Co-operative Principles:
  1. Voluntary: Anyone willing to accept the responsibilities of membership is welcome.
  2. Democratically-controlled: Members set policies and make decisions. Everyone has equal voting rights (one member, one vote). The elected governing board is accountable to members.
  3. Member economic participation: Each Member-Owner makes an equity investment.
  4. Autonomy and independence: A co-op is controlled by its membership alone.
  5. Education: Co-ops provide education and training to Members, community and staff so that all can contribute effectively to the development of their co-op.
  6. Cooperation: Co-ops strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.
  7. Community Concern: Co-ops work for the sustainable development of their communities.

Additional Resources

International Cooperative Alliance 

Co+op Stronger Together

Neighboring Food Cooperatives Association 

Cooperative Directory

Cooperative Grocer

CGIN - How to Start a Co-op