Board Update: Cooperative Principle Number 6 In Action<br>Cooperation Among Cooperatives
It’s no secret that the Co-op is struggling financially for a variety of reasons. One bright star on the horizon, however, is our recent acceptance into National Co+op Grocers. You may have heard for many years that once the Co-op reached the $2 million sales mark, we would be eligible for better pricing through our main distributor, UNFI, which would allow us to offer better prices to our members and shoppers. The mechanism for that discount was always membership in NCG, a cooperative that offers business services to food co-ops across the U.S.
We still have never reached that $2 million mark, but our mortgage lender (when we thought we needed a mortgage for our move to Market Street) suggested we apply for membership anyway, so we did. The organization takes the application process seriously, admitting new members only twice a year. An NCG team actually came to Potsdam to meet with staff and board and see our community first hand. When the board asked the NCG reps what would make them not accept a co-op once they had made it through the initial vetting process, NCG mentioned two things. One would be if a co-op did not agree with the principles that the NCG espouses, and the other would be financial inviability. This was concerning, as our application revealed all of our financial struggles. Fortunately, NCG is in the business of helping co-ops like ours, and they have the expertise to share with us so that our co-op can thrive, and once again serve our community.
Acceptance into NCG offers us many things, the first being hope. It signals that our financial troubles can be overcome, and more importantly, it offers us the tools to do that. NCG experts will review our operations at all levels and offer proven programs and strategies to improve virtually every aspect of our Co-op. We are excited to move forward with this new partnership offering some wax for our skis, so to speak. And that better pricing through UNFI will also finally begin to appear, although not until we are fully involved in the NCG Co-op in early 2023. Stay tuned!