Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

About Us

What does it mean to be a member-owner?

As a member-owner, you:

  • Get a vote in the affairs of the co-op (including elections of owners to the board of directors, ability to provide input, etc.)
  • Can run for the board
  • Help set the direction for the Butte Food Co-op far into the future
  • May be eligible for patronage dividends, bulk discounts, special store discounts, etc.

Future member-owners will be a huge part in co-op decisions through their vote and voice.

What's the difference between a conventional grocery story and a community food co-op?

Conventional Grocer

  • Supports big agriculture
  • Ownership: corporate
  • Decision-making: corporate
  • Bottom line: profit

Lacks community focus, closed decision making

Community Co-Op

  • Supports local farmers
  • Ownership: community
  • Decision-making: owners
  • Bottom line: people, planet, profit

Socially conscious, builds community, transparent

What products will the co-op carry?

The types of products carried at the co-op will be at the discretion of the member-owners, board, and store management.

One of the best parts of being a member-owner of a co-op is that the co-op can carry any products that member-owners want and support. Member-owners show their support for a product through their purchases at the co-op, feedback to the general manager, and voting power to elect the board of directors.

In general, co-ops stock a lot more local, natural, organic, and bulk foods.

The market study done in 2019 suggested the Butte Food Co-op offer clean-conventional, natural, clearly labeled, local food choices given Butte's population

When will the store open?

Opening up the doors of the Butte Food Co-Op depends on a number of factors and the co-op's ability to meet key milestones. These factors include:

  • Feasibility in community to ensure good mutual fit - This requires market research and careful understanding of the community and its needs.
  • The ability to reach key member-owner milestones - The support and enthusiasm we have from the community is key!
  • Raising adequate capital - Remember that this is a community-owned store so there is no single company or owner to finance it. It's up to us!
  • Finding the right location - The right location (visible, accessible, adequate parking, etc.) ensures long-term store viability.
  • Securing key talent - Such as a board, a general manager, etc. to govern and run day-to-day operations.

Will only member-owners be able to shop at the Butte Food Co-Op?

The Butte Food Co-op will be open to anyone and everyone to shop.

You do not have to be a member to shop there... but member-owners receive special benefits and are able to vote on the store's future direction.

Where will the Food Co-Op be located?

Butte, Montana!

Typically location is not secured until stage 2 of co-op development (after initial member-owners sign up, a critical mass of member-owners is reached, capital is raised, and a board is elected), so we still have quite a bit of work to do!

There are some general locations that we are currently vetting while we keep an eye out for new sites that may become available.

We do know that we need adequate parking, easy access and egress, and something close to or on the main roads that run through town.

Why aren't you at (XXX) location?

We understand that people feel very strongly about store location. A co-op must rely on carefully collected data, research, and due diligence in making that decision. We want this co-op's doors to remain open for a long, long time just like you.

There are a lot of factors to consider such as traffic patterns, parking spaces, ease of access and egress, store size, and making decisions like remodel vs. build new, or buy vs. lease.

A sources and uses document (along with data from our feasibility study) helps us figure out how much money we'll make in. prospective areas and how much we will to spend to open doors and sustain business.

Typically, location is not selected until stage 2 of the co-op development process after the co-op has started soliciting memberships, a board is elected, and some capital has been raised. These predecessors are critical in helping drive the co-op's future location.

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