Coastal Organics Cooperative, Inc., is a membership organization that operates the Arena Market and Café. Anyone who is a natural person and resides in the state of California can become a co-op member. While everyone is welcome to shop and dine at the co-op, only members can participate in its governance, and only members receive discounts and other benefits.
Join the Co-op Today
Here are some of the benefits enjoyed by Coastal Organic Cooperative members:
- A 5% price discount every day on everything purchased in the store and café.
- An additional 5% discount on the first Friday of every month, which is Membership Appreciation Day.
- Discounts on case lots and other special-order items.
- Discounts on propane through a collaborative relationship with Suburban Propane.
- Equity ownership in a business where one person gets one vote, regardless of how much investment you have made.
- Member patronage refunds when the co-op distributes profits.
- A vote in the governance issues of the co-op and the opportunity to serve on the board of directors.
- The satisfaction of directly participating in a democratic business engaged in supporting local, sustainable food production and consumption.
How to Join or Renew
You can become a member by either joining online or printing our Membership Application Form and bringing it into the store with a minimum investment of $50. To be a current member in good standing, you must have contributed at least $50 in the last 12 months until you reach the fully vested amount of $300 and become a full-share member.
How Our Co-op Works
You can become a member in one of three ways:
- Pay your $300 up front (our preference)
and become a lifetime full-share member today.
- Purchase a $50 membership annually up to $300 (6 years)
to become a lifetime member.
- Pay the initial $50 membership equity and then pay $12.50 quarterly up to $300 to become a lifetime member.
A cooperative is defined as a democratic enterprise owned and governed by its members. The cooperative’s by-laws enforce the will of the members. The bylaws can be modified by a vote of the members. The board of directors who enforce the bylaws are elected by the members. All “profits” eventually must be returned to the members, either directly or via improvements to the shared enterprise. Check out our MEMBERSHIP DOCS for more information.
Co-op law in California has no limit on the number of members of the co-op, who are also shareholders and owners. While there are different legal forms a co-op may take, the only legal form appropriate for our small community limits the full-share holding to $300.00. Investments beyond $300 are possible but require special consideration by the Board of Directors.
The current vision is to allow new members to pay a minimum of $50.00 annually, until they reach their full-share value of $300, which will then be good for the lifetime of the co-op. Because the co-op is owned by the members and there is a need for financing, you are encouraged to buy your full membership ($300.00) as soon as you can.
The International Cooperative Alliance has adopted seven broad principles for cooperatives:
- Voluntary and open membership
- Democratic member control
- Member economic participation — members provide the capital and control the income
- Autonomy — no contract can hinder the control of the membership
- Education of staff, membership and community about the benefits of cooperatives
- Cooperation with other cooperatives
- Concern for community