Welcome to the Lovettsville Co-op
The Lovettsville Cooperative Market is a full-service grocery store featuring over 7,000 items, including locally produced foods and products, serving the Lovettsville community, surrounding communities in western Loudoun County and adjacent Maryland communities.
At the Co-op, we make it a priority to source our food and products from local farmers, producers, and vendors, ensuring that our customers know exactly from where their food comes. Our Co-op features over 100 local producers in departments such as Grocery, Cheese, Produce, Deli, Wellness, Frozen, Refrigerated/Dairy, Bulk, Wine and Beer.
Since the Co-op is community owned, profits will be used to benefit our community. The store also will serve as a community hub, sponsoring events and programs catering to local needs and interests.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS CALENDAR – 2024
Our Board of Directors Meetings are held monthly, beginning at 6 pm. Specific dates may change depending upon availability of meeting facilities. Any Member-Owner is welcome to attend the monthly meetings during the open portion of the meeting. During this time, 10 minutes of every meeting agenda are scheduled for Member-Owner comments or questions. To register and attend a Board Meeting, please send an email to Admin@lovettsville-grocery.com, Subject: Board Meeting Attendance
- Monthly Board Meeting: Tuesday, January 23, 6-8pm. Location: Lovettsville Library
- Nominations for Board of Directors: January 4 – 22
- Deadline for receiving nominations to the Board: Monday, January 22
- Monthly Board Meeting: Thursday, February 22, 6-8pm. Location: Lovettsville Library
- Annual Meeting: Thursday, February 29. Chili Cook-Off begins at 6:30 pm Meeting begins at 7:30pm. Location: Lovettsville Volunteer Fire & Rescue Social Hall
- Monthly Board Meeting: Thursday, March 28, 6-8pm. Location: Lovettsville Library
- Monthly Board Meeting: Thursday, April 25, 6-8pm. Location: Lovettsville Library
- Monthly Board Meeting: Thursday, May 23, 6-8pm. Location: Lovettsville Library
- Monthly Board Meeting: Thursday, June 27, 6-8pm. Location: Lovettsville Library
About the Board
The Board of Directors (BOD) consists of 9 members elected by our Member-Owners. Each Director serves a term of 3 years, or other shorter terms when applicable (i.e. if a vacancy occurs mid-term).
Joining the Board
The Board election process begins in January with a solicitation letter to Member-Owners calling for nominations. Requirements to run for a Board seat and required tasks are described in detail in the Lovettsville Cooperative Market ByLaws. Before submitting your name for nomination, please refer to Article 4 of our ByLaws in the link below.
General Board member time commitment includes: Approximately 8 – 12 hours/month; Attend regular meetings and work by email; Attend special Co-op events for membership and directorship.
If you want to nominate yourself for Board consideration, send an email letter of interest and include your bio with Subject: Board Nomination to Shelly Tomlinson, Nominating Committee Chair, at Membership@lovettsville-grocery.com. The deadline for receiving 2024 nominations is Monday, January 22, 2024.
What is a cooperative (or co-op)?
A co-op is an association of people who voluntarily cooperate for their mutual social, economic, and cultural benefit.
In plain language, this means that a co-op is a community-owned and community-managed business.
Cooperatives include community organizations and businesses that are owned and managed by the people who use their services (a consumer cooperative) or by the people who work there (a worker cooperative). A food co-op is popular form of cooperative.
All cooperatives worldwide share this same set of principles:
- Voluntary and open membership
- Democratic member control
- Member economic participation
- Autonomy and independence
- Education, training, and information
- Cooperation among cooperatives
- Concern for community
Why a Co-op grocery store? How is it different than other grocery stores?
Market studies have indicated that we don’t have the demographics to attract a big national grocery chain. The Co-op model is a perfect fit for our area. And….
Co-op business models, when well-planned and executed, are more likely to succeed than private businesses are! Community support is built into the cooperative model. Feasibility studies have told us that we have this support in Lovettsville, Brunswick, and surrounding communities.
More than 300 food co-ops around the country serve communities and support local producers where the big chains have failed to do so. The co-op movement, on a national level, can support our local effort by providing information, education, technical assistance, and even financial assistance. The Lovettsville Co-op Market has already benefited from this type of support when we were awarded a $10,000 matching grant from the Food Co-op Initiative (FCI), a 501(c)3 non-profit, which assists retail grocery co-ops by enabling a faster and more efficient start-up process. Additionally, by structuring the store as a co-op, member-owners control the store’s development, management, finances, and food policies in ways they would not be able to within a conventional grocery store model.
A co-op is more than a grocery store. It is a community owned business that provides convenient access to local, fresh, organic, healthy food and products focused on the needs of our local area, while providing opportunities for education and continued learning as a community hub emphasizing food, health and wellness topics. Furthermore, the economic benefits are direct to the community, including our local farmers and producers, versus those financial benefits going out of our community to a large corporate headquarters. The Co-op is the largest private employer in Lovettsville. We have a professional, experienced General Manager and paid staff to support store operations. Anyone in the community will be welcomed to apply for employment at the Co-op. Market studies indicate that our Co-op will return over $1,000,000 into our local economy through purchases from local farmers and producers, salaries and taxes.
Can the Co-op be financially successful? Can it compete with other area grocery stores?
In the 2019 market study, conducted after the Weis store opened in Brunswick, the sales projections for the new store are very strong. Based on these sales forecasts, the financial pro forma that was completed with assistance of industry experts, forecast that our Co-op can be successful.
The 2019 market study indicated that the population in our 60 square mile trade area has a very high propensity to buy natural and organic products, and that there are no other full service grocery stores in our trade area. The market study considered all potential competition from the surrounding areas, including Brunswick. The study found that by focusing on natural and organic products sourced locally, whenever possible, our Co-op should be able to capture a significant share of that market. Note that the Co-op will not try to compete with Weis or Giant on price, but will focus on quality healthy products and services that address the needs of our local community.
Also, by being a locally owned grocery store, our Co-op will be an economic engine for the community, becoming the number one private employer in Lovettsville and projected to return over $1,000,000 annually to the local economy!
We opened November 1, 2003 and sales are going strong. There has been demonstrated support and enthusiasm in our community and surrounding areas evidenced by the sales traffic we are experiencing!
Why do co-ops have member-owners and what is their role?
Co-ops are built on member-owners. Like most corporations, co-ops have owners who invest to earn a return on their financial investment. Unlike most corporate investors, however, co-op owners invest both for the financial benefits and for the social benefits. Another compelling argument for structuring our community grocery store as a co-op is that the member-owners are the core patrons of the co-op and have a vested interest in shopping at their own co-op, helping to ensure its future success.
Two roles of a co-op member are governance and leadership via the ability to elect (and to serve as) Board members and vote on co-op policies and practices. Member-owners also help capitalize the Co-op through their memberships/equity share and through member loans.
What are the benefits of joining the Co-op?
Membership conveys many benefits! In addition to having a voice in decisions related to the store by selecting Board members, joining the Board or committees, there are both pre-and post-opening benefits. Prior to the store opening, member-owners may participate in educational programs and workshops, receive member discounts or special benefits through local businesses, and attend benefit events either for free or at a reduced member rate. Once the store has opened for business, member-owners may receive annual rebates, based on their purchases, in profitable years. But, most importantly, member-owners make possible a community-owned grocery store that supports our local, rural economy.
Who are the member-owners of the Lovettsville Cooperative Market?
Our member-owners are food consumers (and some local producers) who live in Lovettsville, Brunswick, and surrounding communities, such as Waterford, Hamilton, and Lucketts, Virginia, as well as Knoxville and Jefferson, Maryland, and even nearby parts of West Virginia. Members share a common desire to bring a community-scale, high-quality food store to Lovettsville in order to serve our market area and support our community.
Can only members shop at the Lovettsville Co-op?
Anyone, members and non-members alike, can shop at the Lovettsville Cooperative Market.
So, why become a member-owner? Owners provide community support for the Co-op. Their investment in buying a share and their involvement in the Capital Campaign make the Co-op possible. Without a strong owner base, a co-op cannot exist. Also, owners receive specific benefits – they vote for members of the Board of Directors, can run for the Board, and vote on other matters brought before the ownership. Owners will receive patronage refunds when the Co-op becomes profitable. They will receive owner-only discounts in the store and for special activities and events, and receive owner-only newsletters to keep you up to date on your co-op.
How do I join the Co-op? What are some details?
The easiest way to become a member-owner is to click the “Join Us!” link on the homepage of our website. A single membership is a one-time investment of only $200. It is also an equity share in the company. You will become a Member-Owner!
The $200 purchases one voting share of the Co-op. It is not a subscription nor a recurring fee. The membership is in one person’s name, but the entire household can benefit from shopping at the co-op and participating in events and activities. The key difference is that only the member (shareholder) may vote in Co-op Board elections or run for a Board position. Membership is generally not transferable.
A household is defined as people living at the same address. They do not have to be related.
Minimum age requirement to become a member is 18 years of age.
That $200 investment makes you a member-owner with an equity share in the company!
What is the member loan program-the Capital Campaign?
Economic participation by member-owners is a key principle of co-ops. This means members have a unique opportunity to invest further in the co-op by providing a member loan and receive a reasonable return on investment. The member loan program, Capital Campaign, was launched in February 2021.
We needed to raise $1.6 million through member loans and, ultimately, raised more! While we secured a bank loan through the National Co-op Bank, we prefer to pay interest to our member-owners as much as possible. The more Member loans we received, less money goes out of our community to a bank. These funds have been used to: hire an experienced General Manager before opening; Design and construct our store; purchase equipment; and, provide working capital to position our co-op for success. It’s important to know that our Board of Directors are all volunteers, as well as everyone else who has been devoting their time and talents to making our grocery co-op a reality.
Construction began April 2022. Our Co-op opened November 1, 2023!
How do I keep up on the latest news from the Co-op?
Updated: December 2023
Lovettsville Cooperative Market offers healthy products in a member-owned grocery store to members and non-members alike. We are committed to policies, practices, and values that support a vibrant community and a strong local economy.
We promote our mission through:
1. Bringing high quality foods to our customer base without sacrificing a wide range of products that are accessible and affordable.
2. Sourcing products from local and regional farmers and producers when possible.
3. Serving as a hub for exchange beyond commercial transaction, including community building, gathering, and learning.
4. Operating under a business model that fosters economic, social, and environmental justice.
5. Operating under a cooperative model that honors the role of the member-owner as an active participant in co-op success, whether through voting, economic inputs, volunteer efforts, or leadership.
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