Your co-op, October 2004 | PCC Sound Consumer | PCC Natural Markets

Your co-op
Sound Consumer | October 2004

Members, choose your discount day!

Text 'Members, choose your discount - October, November and December.

At PCC, we're exploring ways to make shopping at our stores more convenient for our members. For a three-month trial, we're offering members the chance to save 10% on the day of their choice.

Learn more about the 10% discount day.

Not a member? Become a PCC member today.

PCC's Semi-annual membership meeting

Sunday, October 10, 2 p.m.
Donald Graham Visitors Center
Washington Park Arboretum
2300 Arboretum Dr., Seattle

For the past several years, the PCC board has invited members to a semi-annual meeting for the express purpose of listening to member feedback on anything PCC-related. This year, the board has decided to include a focused discussion on membership and member benefits. We'll look back at the history of PCC's member benefits, examine the new floating bonus day trial (see Membership), and exchange ideas about the value of membership.

Directions to the Donald Graham Visitors Center. Refreshments from the PCC deli will be provided. Free parking. Metro bus routes 11, 43 and 48. For more information, please call 206-547-1222.

Celebrate co-op month

Did you know that as a PCC shopper, you're already part of the solution?

You are because you shop at a consumer cooperative. Cooperatives, those enterprises owned and governed by their customers, directly tackle the problem of how our economy often works for the few and not the many. And because October is National Co-op Month, this is a good time to remind co-op members that you are supporting an enterprise that puts you, the community "and democracy first, and profits second (or even third or fourth).

In a world where corporations seem willing to sacrifice anything to maximize profits, stock price and executive salaries, cooperatives stand apart as an encouraging, viable, and just economic alternative. Last year, when attention was focused on corporate scandals, a nationwide survey conducted by The Opinion Research Corporation found that consumers overwhelmingly preferred co-ops to investor-owned businesses.

The survey found that 77 percent of those queried felt co-ops had the best interest of consumers in mind when conducting business, opposed to only 47 percent for publicly traded corporations. Sixty-six percent felt that a business owned by the people who use the services of the company or buy its goods is more — or much more — trustworthy than publicly traded corporations. Of those surveyed, 78 percent felt that co-ops were committed to and involved in their communities.

There are all kinds of co-ops: consumer co-ops, farmer co-ops (Organic Valley is one), worker co-ops (Equal Exchange) and credit unions (Alaska USA). Cooperatives operate in every industry and range in size from small storefronts to Fortune 500 companies. In all, U.S. cooperatives serve 120 million members, or four in 10 Americans.

Many things make co-ops special. But most of all, by uniting the work and needs of many individuals into a democratic organization, they level the playing field and create new, more equitable economic possibilities for all. The basis for cooperatives has evolved over time to become the Seven Cooperative Principles, as outlined by the International Cooperative Alliance.

  1. Voluntary and open membership
  2. Democratic member control
  3. Member economic participation
  4. Autonomy and independence
  5. Education, training and information
  6. Cooperation among cooperatives
  7. Concern for community

Our co-op is making a difference in our community. But, as part of a larger movement, co-ops are helping millions of people across the United States and around the world.

The month of October has been marked annually as Co-op Month since 1930.

Nominating committee looking for candidates

The 2004-2005 nominating committee met for the first time last month. The group elected Kathryn Russell to serve as chair. The other members of the nominating committee are Jack Buce, Jennifer Gordon, Ken Shear and Heather Toomey Zimmerman. Over the next five months, these PCC members will recruit and vet qualified candidates to run in the next board election in spring 2005.

Is board service something you would consider? Here's an overview:

The PCC board conducts its business using the Policy Governance model, as do the boards of many cooperatives throughout the country. This governance model allows the board to focus on the broad direction of the co-op, and fulfill its fiduciary responsibility without micro managing.

Each trustee serves a three-year term, with three positions open for election each year. Among other duties, the trustees work to:

  • Establish two types of policies to guide management: 1) Ends to provide direction and 2) Executive Limitations to proscribe unacceptable actions by management.
  • Provide avenues for linkage with the member/owners of PCC.
  • Prepare for and attend all board meetings, held six to nine times per year, and serve on one or more board task forces.
  • Visit stores regularly throughout term of office and attend PCC events. Any PCC member of active status may apply for board candidacy. If you're interested and haven't yet attended a board meeting, consider doing so in November (see Next board meeting) to meet the current trustees and see the board in action.

Should you have any questions about the trustee position or wish to receive an application packet, call Janice Parker at 206-547-1222 or e-mail Applications will be accepted until December 20, 2004.

PCC Cooks
PCC Cooks Instructor Birgitte Antonsen (left) and Board member Julie Tempest (right) enjoy a light moment at the Issaquah Healthy Living Fair, the scene of August's Talk to the Board event.

Talk to the Board

Each month a board member is available at a different PCC store to meet members and patrons, and to hear their thoughts. "Finding ways to achieve effective communication with our members is one of the board's key jobs," says Linkage Task Force Chair Alexander Rist. "While our board meetings always are open to members, the Talk to the Board events are designed to give members a more convenient and informal opportunity to give one-on-one feedback right in their neighborhood PCC."

Upcoming visits

  • Seward Park PCC, Tuesday, October 19, 5 to 7 p.m.
  • Fremont PCC, Saturday, November 20, 12 noon to 2 p.m.

Board meeting report

There was no board meeting in August and the September board meeting was held after the publication deadline for this newspaper. Look for a report on the September meeting in the November Sound Consumer and online after October 6.

Next board meeting
The next board meeting is Tuesday, November 30 at 5 p.m. at the West Seattle PCC. Member comments will be heard at 7 p.m.