Frequently Asked Questions

events with people in a large barn sitting around tables

Please note that terms of membership are likely to change through a motion that will be voted upon by 12/28 .

Frequently Asked Questions about the Motion

How do I vote on this motion? What is the deadline? 

How do I know if I am eligible to vote? 

How do I engage in dialogue with others about the motion? Given that we will not have an in-person meeting re: the vote, if you’d like to raise questions or deliberate with others:  

Will the $25 Membership continue to be a family/household membership or is this an individual membership? 

 What are the pros and cons of having a family/household membership versus having each household member become a Full Equity Member-Owner? 

May Member-Owners have the option of a refund of the difference between $25 and $200?  No, Member-Owners do not have the option of a refund of their investment in ECFC.

As we practice the 6th principle of cooperative economics, “coops support coops,” what will cooperation look like between Electric City Food Coop and Honest Weight Food Coop? 

What are the pros and cons of requiring Member-Owners to invest volunteer time in the management of the cooperative grocery? 

Pros: Cooperative enterprises are for the people, by the people.  They thrive when their members not only shop there, but also actively participate in the governance of the coop.  Rewarding active participation in the life of the coop (e.g. through voting rights and store discounts) makes sense.  Honest Weight’s model, where Member-Owner status and voting rights are contingent on meeting required volunteer investment hours, has been central to the culture of this enduring cooperative enterprise. 

Cons: ECFC Board members have heard concerns from our legal counsel and other Member-Owners that this model would likely be inappropriate for our Schenectady location. 

Frequently Asked Questions (General)

How do I become a member? All you need to do is fill out and submit a short membership form, either online or a paper form, and then pay the membership fee, all at once or in installments. As long as you keep making installment payments toward the total fee, you are considered a member with voting privileges.

If I’m not a member can I still shop there? Absolutely!

How do I pay? You can pay by mailing a check in with a printed form, either downloaded from this website or from one of our printed brochures, or by PayPal through this website after filling out and submitting the online form.

How will my membership money be used? Until the Co-op opens its doors, some membership funds may be used to further the Co-op’s advancement in the community by way of funding market and/or feasibility studies and advertising to increase our community support.  The Co-op also hosts several small fundraisers and events throughout the year to help cover administrative costs and reduce the need to access membership funds.

What if the unthinkable happens and you don’t open. Will I get my money back? As with most investments, there is no guarantee.  All invested funds will be managed by the Board of Directors you elect for the purposes of opening and managing the cooperative grocery.

Do I have to pay all at once? We accept installment payments. Online, we are only set up for $20 or $50 installments, but you may make payments of a lower amount by mailing in a check. As long as you continue to make payments on invoices issued toward the $200 goal, you will be a voting member.

Once I pay the full amount, will it be for life? We hope so, but it’s possible that the membership could decide that it needs to raise money for some unforeseen reason.  As a voting member, you’d be a part of that decision process!

Some co-ops require members to work. Will you require that? Nope!  There are no member work requirements for our Co-op.

Will you carry bulk items, and what does “bulk” mean? Buying in bulk means that the item is not in individual packages. You bring a container to fill and you pay by weight or volume. We plan to carry bulk items such as spices, grains, or cooking oils.

When will you open? Once we build the community support, fundraise and build out the Co-op.  Your support is one more step towards that goal!  For more detailed information check out our timeline!

Will the store create jobs? Absolutely! Right now we’re all volunteers.  As we move toward opening, we will need paid staff and management.

How can I help now? Join us for events, invite friends to join the Co-op, host a house party, nominate yourself or another Member Owner to serve on the Board of Directors, invite us for a presentation to a community group, join a committee, send articles to newsletters of organizations to which you belong, like us on Facebook and Instagram, write grants, use other skills you have to move us forward.

In what ways are your board members qualified to serve? Our board and leadership team consists of a variety of professionals from throughout the community.

Have you talked to other cooperatives for advice? Yes! We continue to seek and receive advice from all of the local cooperatives, as well as cooperatives all over the country. Cooperatives cooperate with one another as a part of their ethos.