Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Who can be a member?
A. Anyone over 16 years is able to join the co-operative. One person applies for a 'Household Share' (membership) for use by those residing at the same address. A maximum of two people are named on the Share application.
Q. What discount will I receive?
A. Our Board have currently set our discounts at the following levels:
Spend up to $99 - receive a 5% discount
Spend $100 or over - receive a 10% discount
Bulk buying - receive a 20% discount
Q. As a member, will I need to work in the shop?
A. No, you don't have to however further discounts are available in return for volunteering in the shop.
Q. Can non-members still buy from the shop?
A. Yes, the shop will still welcome all those who enter it's doors.
Q. Who will be running the shop?
A. The Co-op members elect a Board who govern the overall activities of the Co-op. They appoint a manager who runs the shop with a small team of paid staff. Volunteers work alongside the paid staff to support the smooth running of the shop. Currently our management is shared with the Nelson Environment Centre to create synergy and pass on reduced costs to the community.
Q. Can I become a supporting shareholder?
A. Yes, if you have anywhere between $500 to $4,500 that you can invest to support the Nelson Organic Co-operative, drop on in or contact us for an investor prospectus and further information.
Q. Do my Household or Supporting Shares change in value, and can I sell them for a profit?
Shares in the Co-op do not change in value and you cannot sell them for a profit. However, you can transfer your shares or redeem them at the discretion of the Board.
Q. How do I have a say in how the Co-op is run?
A. Every Household Share has one vote - and no shareholder has more than one vote. Your first responsibility is to elect a Board that is accountable to the Shareholders at large. The Board will then consult with the members on all major decisions. Members are also welcome to bring up any ideas they have regarding the co-operative.
Q. Can I help in any other way?
A. Yes, community is based on learning from and helping one another. The co-operative wants to facilitate these connections within and outside the store. We appreciate help from young and old alike; from people who can run workshops, share knowledge/experience, help with the IT side of things or muck on in by doing some physical work i.e. building, gardening, organising etc.
The Co-op Structure
Q. What is the legal entity of the Co-op?
A. It is a co-operative company as detailed in the Constitution. As a member shareholder you will be a part owner of the business.
Q. When did the Co-op start functioning?
A. The company was formed in December 2015, and the Nelson Organic Co-op bought the Organic Green Grocer business on the 29th April 2016. Now we're in the business of running the shop!
Q. Why did it change?
A. Sue and Seager, the previous owners of the Organic Shop, had managed the business for 23 years and are ready to enjoy more time back home on their farm. They were keen to support the transition to co-operative ownership.
Q. How much money did the Co-op have to raise to purchase the OGG?
A. We needed $67,000 in total to purchase the stock, fittings, goodwill and provide for working capital of $10,000. The deposit for buying the business was $30,000.
The total raised at point of purchase was $52,406.
Any remaining payment will be paid back over 3 years, coming from ongoing capital raised through additional sales of Household and Supporting Shares.
Q. How were the initial purchase funds raised?
A. The funds were raised through issuing Household Shares at $365 each, along with larger investors, Supporting Shareholders. In other words the people of Nelson got involved to make this possible.
Q. Is the business financially viable?
A. Based on previous figures, the business is able to secure a small profit. Future viability will depend on the commitment and decisions of the community, elected Board and the members.
Q. How will the business function?
A. The Co-op originally operated from the Tasman Street premises for a year, before blending our operations with the Nelson Environment Centre at Ecoland on Vanguard Street. It redesigned the focus to deliver on affordable everyday organics to the people of Nelson and surrounds. The Co-op endeavours to support local producers, and has reduced overheads to make our business resilient and sustainable.
A popular monthly bulk buy scheme for members makes organics even more affordable, and the Co-op will continue to explore other ideas that the members raised in a survey undertaken in 2014, and supported by various suggestions at subsequent Co-op member meetings.