Some Questions—and Answers!—about the Ambler Food Co-op Membership Drive

We are now collecting pledges!

You can pledge membership by filling out the form here.

Membership Question and Answers

Why not collect my membership equity contribution now?
Before we take your money we need to accomplish a few important goals:  (1) we need to file for incorporation, which we will do in the coming months; (2) we need to ensure we have the systems in place to safely and securely accept and track everybody’s contribution; (3) we need to make sure that there is enough commitment in the community make the Co-op a reality to warrant taking your contribution.

We have dozens of dedicated volunteers working towards fulfilling these goals.  When we are ready to collect your pledge, we will be in touch with you!

How long until a co-op marketplace is opened in Ambler?
“It depends!”  With a co-op run by us, the Co-op members, we will need to raise the money ourselves!  Membership equity contributions will provide some of the capital needed to open a store, in addition to loans and grants.  The faster we raise the money, the sooner we open.  Of course along the way we will have to find a great location, hire a general manager and fulfill a number of other critical steps—so get involved! There is a lot to do!

How does membership equity work?
Membership equity is your capital investment in the Co-op.  Whereas other types of businesses acquire capital from private investors or by selling shares on the open market, the Co-op relies on its membership for the money used to open a store, purchase inventory and run the business. Should you choose to withdraw your support for the Co-op at any time, our co-op bylaws will lay out the details of taking your membership equity with you.
Our membership equity is set at $400, which is similar to other area co-ops.  While we will encourage everybody to pay their equity in full, so that we have the capital to open a store sooner rather than later, there will be payment plans available.  The minimum equity payment is $40.

Will I have to be a member to shop at the Co-op? What benefits do I get by becoming a member?
Without memberships we will not be able to open a cooperative marketplace in Ambler.  We need a strong core of support to start a retail grocery store that is owned by and operated for the benefit of the community. One person cannot open a co-op for $400, but 1,000 people can!

While our store will be open to all, members will receive special discounts; but, more importantly, they will know that it is their store that they helped to create, and that they can help operate!

How is the Co-op being organized?
At this point the Co-op is run entirely by volunteers.  There are all kinds of volunteers in our organization: some who are committee members and meet regularly, some who volunteer for events or other discrete tasks, and some who work behind the scenes to move us ahead.

We at Ambler Food Co-op have also been offered great help and advice from other co-ops in the area.  There is a growing movement in southeastern Pennsylvania and nationally to run cooperative businesses because, as studies have shown, cooperatives bring more financial and social benefits to the community than privately run companies.
Feel free to contact us to see what you can do to help us with this community effort!

Have more questions about pledging your membership?  Please see our What is a co-op? page for more answers!