What is a coop?
A cooperative is a business. COOPs range in size from small store-fronts to large Fortune 500 companies.
In many ways, they're like any other business, but differ in several important ways.
- Are owned and democratically controlled by their members - the people who use the COOPs services or buy its goods - not by outside investors; COOP members elect their board of directors from within the membership.
- Return surplus revenues (income over expenses and investment) to members proportionate to their use of the cooperative, not proportionate to their “investment” or ownership share.
- Are motivated not by profit, but by service - to meet their members’ needs on affordable and high quality goods or services; Exist solely to serve their members.
- Pay taxes on income kept within the COOP for investment and reserves. Surplus revenues from the COOP are returned to individual members who pay taxes on that income.