Prairie Food Co-op Community Grocery


What is Prairie Food Co-op's mission?

Our official Mission Statement is as follows:

"Prairie Food Co-op is a community-owned and democratically-operated grocery store dedicated to strengthening our local economy and creating a marketplace for transparently-labeled, local, organic, and sustainable food."

In a nutshell, we are a community-owned grocery store that will focus on selling as much locally, sustainably produced food as possible. Not every product will be local, and not every product will be organic. We are a grocery store first and foremost, but we are also a gathering place for people and ideas.

Being literally owned by thousands of individuals and families in our area, our store will reflect the values of our community and each Owner has a right to vote for and run for our board of directors. 

Our success of our mission relies on the broad support of both our member-owners and the community.

What is a food co-op?

A food co-op is community-owned grocery store that focuses on selling as much locally, sustainably produced foods and products as possible. Not every product will be local, and not every product will be organic. We are a grocery store first and foremost, but we are also a gathering place for people and ideas.

The basic model of a food co-op is about cooperation. A food co-op is owned by its community and this community of owners votes for the co-op board of directors to represent them. Co-op owners can also run for the board of directors. While profit is important for a food co-op to grow and thrive, food co-ops exist to provide goods and services that our owners want instead of just making a profit and all profit goes back into the store, but occassionally patronage dividends are issued back to owners in years the co-op is profitable. 

Food co-ops also engage their communites through workshops and learning opportunitis and are more environmentally conscious than conventional grocery stores. 

What are the benefits FOR ME when becoming a PFC Owner?

At most food co-ops, Owners get certain perks and discounts at the store. This can look like:

  • A 5% across-the-board discount once a month, or
  • Certain days where ALL Owners get a particular discount, or
  • Maybe everyday there will be some products that are on sale for all Owners.
  • Or it can be free or reduced admission to workshops and classes.

We can't tell you what PFC's perks will look like until our future GM decides what those will be. 

However, we argue that the biggest reason for becoming a PFC Owner is to become part of something bigger, joining others in our community in building something beneficial to OUR community that keeps more profit HERE in OUR community.

For more information on PFC Ownership, click here.

What are the benefits FOR PFC when becoming a PFC Owner?

Ownership by as many members of our community is the most fundamental building block of Prairie Food Co-op. A food co-op can't exist without it's Owners for many reasons. 

  • Early Ownership capital provides the means to cover organizing efforts such as marketing and consulting fees
  • Robust Ownership numbers show community buy-in and support
  • Owners reflect our community and are needed for volunteering and board/committee membership so we can keep growing. Many hands make short work!
  • In order to open, we need to raise a certain amount of capital from our Owners through loans and preferred shares. PFC Owners are not obligated to give us a loan or buy preferred shares, but we might ask! :) 
  • Once the store is open, even though it will be open to EVERYONE, we need our Owners to shop often at our store so we can be successful. 

Yes, we will always be recruiting PFC Owners. A continous and steady stream of Owners guarantees our food co-op remains vibrant and represenative of our community. 

For more information on PFC Ownership, click here.

How much does it cost to become an owner?

Owners make a one-time investment of $200.  These funds will provide base capital and cover start-up costs.

If you are unable to pay the full cost of ownership now, pay as little as $25 and enter the Installment Plan, making monthly payments until the full $200 ownership fee is paid.

What will happen to Ownership shares if the co-op fails?

Any amounts remaining will be returned to Owners on an equal basis.

Will you have paid staff?

Yes, we are planning on having a full, professional staff.

Is Prairie Food Co-op a non-profit?

No. Prairie Food Co-op is a for-profit business that operates as a cooperative. This type of business makes a profit but returns a portion back to its Owners as a patronage refund. Contributions to Prairie Food Co-op are not tax deductible. On the other hand, Prairie Food Co-op will not be profit-driven. Some businesses exist to earn a profit for their owners. Cooperatives exist to provide a service to their owners. A well-run Co-op needs to be able to earn a modest profit. This profit allows the Co-op to invest in the growth of the business to better serve its member-owners, to invest in the community or to take other actions consistent with its mission. The board of directors working with all the member-owners determines these actions. Importantly, the ability of a co-op to earn a profit for its Owners means that it doesn’t take resources from the community in order to serve its member-owners but rather the Co-op generates economic and other value that is returned to the member-owners and the community.

Together we built this. Join us.