Thursday September 13, 2012

-- "Owners" of the Berkshire Co-op Market, a consumer cooperative, make a one-time, $150 equity investment. While the Great Barrington store on Bridge Street is open to everyone, the "owners" have a share in the business, obtain benefits, participate in the election of the board of directors, and maintain a voice in the market’s activities.

-- The co-op’s goals include support of local farmers and food producers, small business and the local economy, a sustainable local and regional food system, community education about health and environmentalism, sustainable business practices, "thoughtful and responsible consumerism," and "a cooperative community spirit."

-- Specific benefits include "Owner Appreciation Days" four times a year, with a storewide 10 percent discount, access to a buying club for bulk purchases at reduced prices, dividend checks based on an "owner’s" total annual purchases, membership in Community Connections offering discounts and deals from local businesses, and a daily 7 percent discount for members over 65.

-- "Owners" may also run for the board of directors, vote in board of directors elections, and use prepaid cards at checkout registers as an alternative to credit and debit cards.