A cooperative business is a different type of business - one that is created by the community to meet the needs of the community. Cooperative businesses do not exist to bring wealth to investors but rather to enrich the community by providing a service. The Illinois Cooperative Act dictates that profits of any cooperative business must be either reinvested in the business or given back to Owners in the form of patronage dividends (patronage simply means that your dividend is based on the amount spent on purchases. The more money you spend at the co-op, the higher the dividend). Co-ops are not a new idea or small niche market. There are over 250 food co-ops across the country, many in operation since the 1970s (and a few since the 40s!). Food co-ops are collectively the third largest buyer of natural foods in the nation. New food co-ops are opening across the country.
Prairie Food Co-op was organized to provide year-round access to locally produced, sustainable products in a full service grocery store. Our co-op will have an emphasis on transparent product labeling so that you know how your food was produced. Our co-op will support local farmers and food producers by giving them a stable market to sell their products. Our co-op will offer food-focused educational classes such as "Kids Can Cook", "Cooking on a Budget", and other classes that the community is interested in. Our co-op will provide 35-40 jobs on opening day with benefits for all positions. Our co-op will stimulate the creation of new small businesses by providing a marketplace to sell locally-made products. Our co-op will keep more money in our community for all these reasons.
As a cooperative business, we rely on the community to support us in the form of Ownership purchases. Ownership is a one-time payment of $200 that gives you two shares of common stock in Prairie Food Co-op. You can also enter our Installment Plan and pay as little as $25/month towards the Ownership fee. As an Owner, you can vote for the Board of Directors, run for the Board, give input on the products and services you'd like to see in our store, and receive monthly discounts to local businesses through our PROPS program. Owners will also receive Owner-exclusive discounts once the store opens.
The Prairie Food Co-op Board of Directors continues to work hard to ensure we open a thriving store that will serve our community far into the future. The Board commissioned a market study in 2015 that forecasts millions in gross sales for the first 5-years and has created financial statements outlining feasibility and profitability for the first 10 years of operation The resulting data confirms that Prairie Food Co-op can be successful. When we reach 800 Owners, we can sign a lease on our flagship grocery store. The store will be located in Lombard (North of Roosevelt and South of North) with a trade area that includes Elmhurst, Villa Park, Lombard, Glen Ellyn, Downers Grove, and Oakbrook Terrace.
Our progress towards opening day is dependent on community support. More specifically, we rely on Owner growth to move forward. Each new Owner brings us one step closer to opening our doors. Over 575 community leaders and residents have already become Owners. If you are not yet an Owner, we hope that you will show your support by joining today!