A co-op is a member-owned, member-controlled business that operates for the mutual benefit of all members and according to common principles established for cooperatives.
A co-op is an organisation that takes the idea of working together and puts it into a business structure. The cooperative business is owned and controlled by the people who use it - its members. It is operated primarily for the benefit of its members, to meet their mutual needs.
At its core, a co-op is a business, subject to the same needs and demands of any business, but the fact that the co-op is owned and controlled by its members makes it a unique form of business.
The following video, published by Choose A Co-op introduces the benefits of shopping at a co-op: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PoIO2ze8GS4
Cooperatives are run according to a set of 7 principles; you can read about these here. This information was sourced from:
- New Zealand Cooperative Association: http://nz.coop/docs/ICA%207%20principles.pdf
- CGIN - Cooperative Grocers' Information Network: http://www.cgin.coop/files/manual.pdf