What does it mean to be a cooperative? The answer depends on the reason the co-op is formed and who the members are.
Some co-ops are founded to ensure members have access to more affordable loans or better deposit rates. Others are built to provide members a stronger voice in the marketplace and make it easier for them to get their products to consumers.
There are cooperative pre-schools, groceries and even doctors’ offices. There are producer co-ops, consumer co-ops, employee co-ops and many more. What they all share is a commitment to a set of principles that ensure fair business practices, just wages, and social responsibility, among other worthy goals.
Recently, Seattle Metropolitan Credit Union sponsored Co-opapalooza, a celebration of cooperative business and the amazing things co-ops achieve for their members. Co-ops from across the country joined SMCU to help demonstrate the breadth of available cooperatives and share the co-op message with people who stopped by.
Co-opapalooza attendees had the opportunity to chat with representatives of the participating co-ops to learn how the cooperative business model can allow companies to be agents for powerful social change while still providing valuable consumer benefits. They were able to sample products and learn about what the different co-ops had to offer their members.
As attendees moved from booth to booth, they were treated to great live music from local bands, Hey Marseilles and The Love Lights. Visitors to the SMCU booth entered a raffle for prizes donated by the attending co-ops.
Some of the attendees admitted that they had no idea what co-ops were prior to the event, but were excited to learn about them. Others knew about co-ops but were unaware of the wide variety of industries cooperatives operate in.
Seattle Metropolitan Credit Union would like to thank all of the participating cooperatives, bands, and event staff, as well as everyone who stopped by for making this such a wonderful experience.