Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can anyone shop at the Coop?
A: Only members may shop at the Coop, but membership is open to all.
Q: Do you have to live in Park Slope to join?
A: No. Our members come from all over Brooklyn as well as the rest of New York – some even come from out of state!
Q: How much does it cost to join?
A: All members must pay a non-refundable $25.00 joining fee and contribute a $100.00 investment to the Coop. If you terminate your Coop membership your Investment will be refunded to you upon your request. Each adult member of your household will be asked to make these member payments. Extended payment plans are available upon request. For members who receive certain kinds of income-based assistance, the joining fee is $5 and the refundable member investment is $10.
Q: Does the Coop accept cents-off coupons? Food Stamps? WIC?
A: The Coop accepts manufacturers’ cents-off coupons for any product that we sell. We also accept food stamps. However, we are not authorized to accept WIC checks.
Q: Can I really save money shopping at the Coop?
A: Depending on what you buy, it is possible to save quite a lot. Our most recent price comparison survey indicates that Coop members save 20- 40% off of their weekly grocery bill
Q: What does the Coop carry? Does the Coop carry organic food? Does the Coop carry only organic food?
A: The Coop carries a wide variety of products (more than 5000 items) to serve a diverse population with a variety of needs. We sell an excellent selection of organic and conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables, groceries, health food, vitamins, household items, pet products, housewares, office supplies, gift items and more for only 21% above wholesale.
Q: Do all members have to work at the Coop?
A: Every member of the Coop must work at the Coop. The work requirement is 2 hours and 45 minutes once every four weeks. At this rate, every member works 13 times per calendar year.
Q: What if I am disabled?
A: The Coop has many different types of work available. If a member has specific requirements, we work with that person to find a suitable work assignment. Members can be exempt from working at the Coop if they are dealing with a permanent or temporary condition that makes them unable to work or if they are caring for someone who is ill or disabled.
Q: Why do all members have to work?
A: One of the Coop’s goals is to provide food to the member-owners that is both low priced and high quality. Low prices come primarily from saving money in the area of payroll expense. Payroll is the biggest expense of any store, including this one. The fact that our members do about 75% of the work, thereby keeping our payroll low, is the main reason that the members of this Coop pay low prices. Another goal accomplished when members are doing 75% of the work of the Coop is a feeling of being a member-owner that one cannot get from merely investing one’s money.
Q: Can I pay more and not work?
A: No. We have only one class of membership and everyone pays the same prices and fulfills the same requirements.
Q: What can I do with my children while I am shopping or working?
A: The Coop provides free childcare to children of Coop members while their parent/guardian/babysitter is working and/or shopping at the Coop. Our childcare space is limited to 12 children so we cannot guarantee there will always be space available. If you require guaranteed childcare for your children while you are working and/or shopping your may want to make other arrangements
Q: Is the Coop a place where I can participate and be part of a community?
A: Most members do their workslots as part of teams, called “squads.” Squads meet as a group once every four weeks, giving members a chance to get to know one another. This facilitates members feeling a part of the Coop community. Members can be quite loyal to their squads.
Major decisions for the Coop are made or approved by the monthly General Meeting—a meeting open to all Coop members. All members who attend the meeting have one vote each in this face-to-face setting. Members are actively encouraged to come to General Meetings and participate. The Coop also holds parties, concerts, dances and other events. The complex role of member-as-worker-as-owner-as-shopper helps most of us develop an identity that includes truly caring about our Coop.