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Seattle & Tacoma

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Co-ops Run on People Power

Over 15,000 other people in your community own these stores! Anyone can join Central Co-op and become an owner, and be part of our community-driven grocery. Join Us!

Why Own It?

Central Co-op owners get personal and collective benefits from co-owning and supporting a successful independent business that's rooted in our community. That means we're guided by the needs of the people we serve, right here in Seattle and Tacoma. We're dedicated to the well-being of our communities, both local and global, and ownership helps ensure our success.

Owners also have access to educational and skill-building opportunities. Plus, owners can and do participate in shaping the direction of the Co-op through our owner-elected Board of Trustees and the Trustee Nominating Committee.

Who Owns It?

Central Co-op is a solidarity cooperative. Solidarity cooperatives take different forms, but at Central that means we're owned and democratically controlled by customers and workers who have each purchased a share of the business. And anyone can join!

  • Cooperative Principle 1: Voluntary and Open Membership

Each of these owners gets one vote, and from amongst themselves elect a Board of Trustees to direct the organization. Owners provide input to, vote for, and comprise our Board and Nominating Committee, tying the co-op directly to the needs of our community.

Important note: if you joined the Tacoma Food Co-op as a member, you are now a member of Central Co-op! Our two co-ops merged in 2015, uniting their memberships.

  • Cooperative Principle 2: Democratic Member Governance

Ownership of the Co-op is shared 50/50 between the two groups of owners (workers and consumers), including equity investment, patronage dividend distribution, and Board representation.

The person named as the primary account owner is the legal owner of that share for its lifetime, and is the only person who can make changes to the account, sign any election ballot, or choose to resign ownership and refund the share. But with consumer shares, others in your household are welcome to shop using your Central Co-op account! Just make sure they're listed on your account by name.

How To Own It

Anyone can join Central! One consumer share of Central Co-op costs $100, and can be paid up front or in small installments. (Worker shares are available to eligible workers.) Consumer and worker shares are an equity investment that helps us purchase inventory and equipment, finance operations, and minimize outside debt. Owners also support the Co-op by shopping and working here, and by participating in the Co-op's democratic processes. 

  • Cooperative Principle 3: Member Economic Participation

You can become an owner at the Central Services desk or at the checkstands by paying all $100 at once, or in small installments. Immediately upon making your first payment, you will be eligible for all of our owner benefits.

You can also join online: Pay $100 through Paypal, and we'll mail you your owner information.

Like the sound of all that? Join the Co-op!


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