Become An Owner / Why Join?
When you become an owner of River Valley Co-op, you actually own part of the co-op. River Valley Co-op is owned and operated by people just like you - members of the community working together to build a just marketplace in the Pioneer Valley.
The motivating purpose of co-ops is to serve the needs of the owners rather than to generate a profit. When the co-op does make a profit, it is cycled back into River Valley Co-op to increase our services for the owners, or if sufficient profit is made, it is given back to the owners in the form of a Patronage Rebate.
As an owner you are investing in the start-up financing of the co-op and have the opportunity to participate in the business development process. Your equity share will last long into the future entitling you to the benefits of River Valley Co-op cooperative ownership. The co-op currently consists of about 11,700 owners - together we support our co-op to meet our mutual needs for a just marketplace in the Pioneer Valley.
Everyone is welcome to become an owner at River Valley Co-op. Ownership requires a $150 (minimum) equity investment (not an annual fee). A payment plan option is available, and we also have a low-income membership assistance program (details below). Stop by the Customer Service desk and ask for an application form, or call 413-584-2665 for more information.
As an Owner of River Valley Co-op you will:
- Receive coupons worth over $25 when you join, plus a thank-you coupon for 10% off one shopping trip.
- Shop on Co-op Owner Appreciation Days and receive 10% off all purchases. (Excluding beer, wine, milk, special orders, Buying Club, and Food For All)
- Participate in our BUYING CLUB. Save 15% or more when you pre-order by the case.
- Save $$ with our weekly Co-op Owner Bonus Buys.
- Become eligible for any annual Patronage Rebates declared by the Board when the co-op is profitable.
- Invest with a Co-op Owner Loan during loan campaign periods.
- Exhibit your art in the Cafe Gallery.
- Join the UMass Five College Credit Union.
- Vote in elections and other co-op owner votes.
- Run as a candidate in Board elections.
- Receive a subscription to the co-op newsletter.
- Own your equity share investment as long as you choose. When/if you choose to no longer be a co-op owner, you may request to redeem it. (See by-laws for details including potential restrictions.)
- Be part of developing and sustaining a strong local food system.
- Have pride in keeping River Valley Co-op a vibrant, sustainable community-owned resource for years to come.
Learn More about the Co-op with our Annual Report
Our Annual Report includes reports from the Board president, treasurer, and manager, as well as other information from the previous fiscal year like our local food statistics, financial graphs and more.
We mail Annual Report to our owners' homes, and are available for pickup in the store (while supplies last) and for download here.
Low Income Ownership Assistance
The Low Income Owner Assistance Program gives everyone, regardless of income, an opportunity to become a co-op owner of River Valley Co-op and enjoy all the benefits of being an owner of the co-op. This program is for local residents who are committed to supporting our co-op by becoming co-op owners, but who might not otherwise be able to afford to join.
How does the program work?
An owner equity share in River Valley Co-op costs $150. Participants in the Low Income Ownership Assistance Program pay fifteen monthly installments of $5 (for a total of $75) and River Valley Co-op pays the other half of the share ($75).
The $75 paid by the program is a loan. Repayment is optional, but if you find in the future that your circumstances allow you to repay the $75, that amount will then be contributed back to the Low Income Ownership Assistance Fund to help future co-op owners.
Who is eligible?
You are eligible if you value cooperative ownership rights and responsibilities and you find that you have difficulty affording either the full $150 ownership or the $25/month installment program.
You alone determine whether you need the support of this program to become a co-op owner. The funding comes from co-op owners who have donated to the program to ensure that ownership in the co-op is accessible to everyone, regardless of income.
How may I apply?
Applications are available at Customer Service. Applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis and granted if funding is available.
Update your Account Info
Resigning Your Ownership
Thank you for being an owner of our co-op. We are sorry to lose you, but if you need to withdraw your ownership, you can redeem your stock for the full amount invested, as per our bylaws. Co-op ownerships are not transferable. Please print and fill out this form or pick up a form at customer service. Refund checks will be mailed 30-60 days from receipt of form.