What is a co-op?

A co-op is an organization owned, operated, and financed by its owners. Green Top Grocery is owned by those who purchase shares (providing equity for the store). Ownership is open to all, and anyone can shop at the co-op regardless of whether they are an owner or not. In many ways, a co-op grocery store is just like any other grocery store — it carries the range of products and offers many services found in a typical grocery store… but there are some very important differences!

How is a food co-op different from ‘regular’ grocery stores?

While a food co-op has things in common with a traditional grocery store, it’s our difference that makes a co-op so amazing! For instance, cooperatives exist to fulfill the needs of their owners, not shareholders or executives hundreds of miles away. In the case of Green Top Grocery, priority is placed on local farmers/producers, and organic selections. Green Top also exists to create better food access for the community, and to build a stronger, more just local economy.

Although the co-op has only been open since May 2017, we’ve already made big impacts:

  • Over $21,000 has been donated to local human service organizations through our Positive Change program and our Round up at the Register program in 2018 alone. Owners decide on 12 organizations to be monthly recipients of money raised when shoppers ’round up at the register’.
  • As of September 2019, Green Top Grocery is supporting 80 local producers by selling their products on our shelves. GTG defines ‘local’ as being within 100 miles of the store, meaning money spent on these products truly keeps circulating within our community.
  • Green Top Grocery is the first grocery store in the entire State of Illinois to offer Double SNAP benefits. Shoppers can purchase any LINK/SNAP-eligible products, and receive up to $25 in matching vouchers per day. These vouchers can be redeemed for local produce in the store or at the Bloomington Farmers’ Market. Thousands of dollars of healthy local food has gone to those who might not have gotten it otherwise.
  • Our Co-op Basics Program is a group of over 300 pantry and household staples that are sold at a super low everyday price. This helps you stretch your dollar while also getting organic and high quality basics for your family!
  • We have over 2,150 owners of Green Top Grocery — people in our community just like you who want a voice in where their food comes from, and a vote in how the business is governed. Ownership is open to everyone, and we are always accepting new owners!

Ask at the register, or become an owner here.

Cooperative Principles

Co-ops around the world, including ours, are guided by seven principles. These principles help us remember who we are, what we are trying to do, and how we’ve agreed to do it.

  1. Voluntary and Open Membership
  2. Democratic Member Control
  3. Member Economic Participation
  4. Autonomy and Independence
  5. Education, Training, and Information
  6. Cooperation Among Cooperatives
  7. Concern for Community

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Its About Something Special At Green Top Grocery