A few months ago (www.willystreet.coop/article/12270),  I wrote an article about Co-op Ownership for cooperatives and non-profit organizations. This month I wanted to talk about businesses that shop at the Co-op and business owners who may be using their Co-op Owner number to shop for their businesses.

According to our Bylaws, Section III: Ownership, 3.2 states: “Ownership in the Co-op shall be voluntary and open to any person, household, cooperative or non-profit corporation that wishes to support the Co-op’s activities, intends to use its services, and will accept the responsibilities of Ownership.”

Currently, businesses cannot sign up for Ownership at the Willy Street Co-op. Instead we offer a business account, which will not bestow any Owner benefits other than exclusion from paying the 5% surcharge to non-Owners. As part of that application process, the business can opt to have a revolving house charge account within Willy Street Co-op. A security deposit is required to open the account, and that deposit amount sets your shopping limit at the Co-op. (Limits are currently set at $100-$1,000). Businesses receive a monthly invoice/statement from our Finance Department to make payment toward any balance. The deposit can be refunded at anytime, at the business account holder’s request, and the account will become closed.

Our shopping guidelines for businesses are:

  1. Businesses with a pre-paid charge account may request and receive a maximum of 10 (ten) Willy Street Co-op identification cards and distribute them to individuals entitled to make purchases for the business.
  2. To make a purchase, a business’s buyer will be required to present their Willy Street Co-op ID card at the register and pay:
    1. With a check from the business’s bank account, or
    2. A credit/debit card issued to that business, or
    3. Charged to that business’s Willy Street Co-op pre-paid charge account with a valid photo ID.
  3. Except for the pre-appointed primary shopper for the business, no cash transactions are allowed for business accounts.
  4. Businesses are not eligible for Access discounts or making payments with an EBT card.
  5. Businesses are responsible for the management and regulation of their purchases and eligible shoppers. Willy Street Co-op will only track sales charged to Willy Street Co-op pre-paid charge accounts, which must be signed by the buyer.

If you are a Co-op Owner, and have been making purchases for your business on that number, please keep in mind that the address on the contract is the household that Co-op Ownership serves. Additional business purchases attached to that shareholding to the Co-op factor into patronage calculations and special discounts we offer to Owners. Continuance of this shopping practice is in violation of our current Bylaws structure.

If you are interested in setting up a business account with the Co-op please contact Tamara at t.urich@willystreet.coop  or 251-6776 Monday through Friday 8:30am–4:30pm. I would be happy to answer your questions and mail you our application materials.