ABOUT

We are Co-op

We are a different kind of business. We are owned by our members, not far-away shareholders. Co-op locations, products and services are not always the same because we’re guided by the needs of our members.

We are local. We support and invest in our community – because we live here too. Our profits are used to develop jobs and economic activity in our communities, give back to local initiatives and organizations and provide a return to our owners – who are customers like you.

We are more than 160 independent co-operative associations. We work together under the CO-OP® banner to offer a range of products and services – food, fuel, agriculture, and home and building solutions being most common – to our members.

What is a co-operative?

Co-operatives exist around the world in many forms. We’re a consumer co-operative, which means our associations are owned by the people who purchase our products and use our services. We use your profits to grow your business and support our communities. What all co-operatives have in common, though, is a commitment to the Co-operative Identity, which includes common values and seven principles that guide co-operative organizations.

Co-operative Governance

One of the seven co-operative principles is democratic member control. Each Co-op is governed by a board of directors elected by and accountable to the Co-op’s members. These representatives are responsible for setting policies and making decisions that guide the overall direction of the Co-op. Annual meetings provide the opportunity for members to run for and elect board members as well as hear financial and operational updates. Contact your local Co-op for more information about its annual meeting and director opportunities.

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Our History

It started with a need and an idea that business can be done differently. Co-ops were built by you and for you, often offering products and services where others wouldn’t. Despite some struggles in the early 1900s, local co-ops were able to succeed as people became familiar with the co-operative movement and co-operative wholesale societies were formed.

Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) was created and grew over time as the four Western Canadian provincial wholesale societies, as well as Consumers Co-operative Refinery Limited, amalgamated into one wholesaling and manufacturing co-operative to serve local co-ops. FCL is not your local Co-op….

The oldest association in our network – the Co-operative Retailing System as we call it – is Sointula Co-op in British Columbia, which was founded in 1909. More than 70 per cent of our local co-op associations have been operating in their communities for more than 75 years.

CO-OP® brand products began being developed in the 1940s with new offerings continuing to be developed to this day. The CO-OP® logo was developed in 1957 as red letters framed by a green shield. The all-red logo we know today wasn't introduced until 1974.