By Casey Garfield
The First Alternative Co-op has reached a major achievement: over 10,000 people have invested in this local business. To celebrate, co-op owners and community members are invited to share stories of their co-op experiences and enjoy delicious cake from the co-op bakery at two receptions this week.
The 10,000th owner, Natasia Cooper, came in that day with a friend who was making a payment on her owner share and was caught up in the excitement of investing in a local business.
“I was really excited, and glad the co-op has been so successful,” said Cooper. “It’s fantastic that people are going out of their way to invest in local, sustainable business. They’re taking the extra time to know what goes into their bodies. There are a lot of great local farmers out there that deserve to be recognized.”
The co-op started as a bulk buying club in 1970 and was run by volunteers for nearly a decade. As years passed, staff became paid employees and finally members voted to become an official cooperative business in 1999. Shares are a one-time investment of $70, which can be paid at once or by payment plan. Owners may put up to $300 on their share to help with capital improvements, but the benefits remain equal for all.
Cake receptions are on Thursday, Dec. 4 at 4:30 p.m. at the North Co-op, 2855 NW Grant Avenue, and Friday, Dec. 5 at 4:30 p.m. at the South Co-op, 1007 SE 3rd Street. For more information, contact Emily Stimac at 541-753-3115, ext. 321.