PCC Sound Consumer | What is a co-op?

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What is a co-op?

PCC helped create the local market for organic dairy. In 1994, Washington had no organic dairies; now there are 13.

Sound Consumer | October 2002

by Trudy Bialic, Editor

October is National Co-op month celebrating 250 years of American co-ops

When PCC members think "co-op," they may think of organic and sustainably grown food, discounts, or a community-owned business not beholden to out-of-state stockholders.

In fact, people join different co-ops for many reasons today, although it often has to do with saving money or supporting a certain kind of business. These characteristics have come from a long 250-year history of cooperatives in this country.

October is National Co-op Month and this year, 2002, marks the 250th anniversary of the first successful cooperative organization in America. In 1752, Benjamin Franklin initiated the "The Philadelphia Contributionship for the Insurance of Houses from Loss by Fire." It was a volunteer fire-fighting company, made up of 30 volunteers. The Philadelphia Contributionship still serves members in Pennsylvania and New Jersey today as a mutual fire insurance company.

Co-ops are formed by people with a common need. Every day, all across America, 120 million people solve problems and enjoy a better life because of their co-ops. A Gallup survey finds that American consumers have greater confidence in the trustworthiness, pricing and commitment to quality of cooperatives than privately-owned businesses.

People have formed more than 48,000 co-ops for farming, banking, healthcare, housing, electric and telephone service, grocery retailing, and many other products and services. Aside from PCC, other well-known co-op names include REI, The Associated Press, Ace Hardware, Tru-Value Hardware, Sunkist, Ocean Spray, Land O'Lakes, CUNA Mutual Insurance Group, and Group Health.

In producer cooperatives, the people who produce the goods are the owners. Service cooperatives are enterprises such as credit unions. Worker cooperatives are enterprises where the workers are the owners.

PCC is a consumer co-op, which means we're owned and operated by the members who shop our stores.

Your investment in co-op membership helps all of us work for cooperative principles shared by co-ops all around the world.

Common co-op principles

PCC's co-op highlights

Since 1961, PCC has done many extraordinary things as a cooperative, for the common interest of our business. For example, PCC:

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