Membership or Ownership … which is it?


One of the things we’re trying to do before opening the store is making sure we’re happy with all of the decisions we’ve made to date, so that when we get ready to open the doors to the public, we do so in full confidence.  We’re weighing things like, do we use “” for email addresses or does “” make things simpler?  Are there any minor adjustments we want to make to our logo or colors?  These might sound like small things, but we want to be 100% sure about them so we don’t have to make any costly changes after opening the store.

Another item we’ve thought about is whether we want to use the term “Member” or “Owner”.  With the popularity of places like Costco and BJ’s, where you have to buy an annual membership to shop there, we want to make it very clear that our structure is different.  Not only is the Fredericksburg Food Co-op completely open to the public, Owner or not, if you choose to be an Owner at the Co-op you get to vote for our Board of Directors and have a real say in how the store operates.  

So we’re in the process of performing a “Memberectomy” (I made that word up), removing the word Member from our website, documents, and vocabulary.  Trust me as someone who put plenty of my allowance in a family jar for using “colorful” language growing up, I understand that changing language is hard, but we think it’s important.  Being an Owner of the Co-op is a powerful statement that communities can build what they need for themselves, with their own shared resources.  You own a piece of this business and have a say in how it’s run, how it grows, and how it gives back to Fredericksburg.  We want to fully embrace the word Owner and understand that it’s a lot more than a card with your picture on it, that gets you in the door. There is still time to get in on the ground floor with Ownership in the Co-op; it’s not too late.  Join more than 1,350 of your neighbors as equity holders and Owners of a grocery store in Fredericksburg!  And don’t worry … if you slip up and use the word Member at an event or meeting, we won’t make ya put a quarter in the jar. 

Published March 1, 2020