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.
- 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.
- 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:
- With a check from the business’s bank account, or
- A credit/debit card issued to that business, or
- Charged to that business’s Willy Street Co-op pre-paid charge account with a valid photo ID.
- Except for the pre-appointed primary shopper for the business, no cash transactions are allowed for business accounts.
- Businesses are not eligible for Access discounts or making payments with an EBT card.
- 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.