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History Of The Coop
People in local food buying clubs founded the OFC in 1975 in order to have a central distribution point. The first site was on Columbia St downtown. After a couple of years they moved into the Westside store on 921 N. Rogers. In the beginning, as with most Coops, everyone needed to volunteer time in order to be members. Eventually membership was opened up to anyone who paid dues, with discounts for volunteers. OFC has always been run collectively.
The Coop is owned by it's members and is a not for profit business. Any profits are funneled back into the Coop.
In the early 90's the Westside was bursting at the seams and the B.O.D. and staff went to the membership seeking input on what we should do. The majority of the respondents said they wanted a store similar to the Westside on the Eastside of town, run the same way (collectively managed and with volunteers). In 1994 the Eastside store opened and after a rough first year it has been growing like gangbusters.
A volunteer Board of Directors elected by the membership oversees the Coop. The B.O.D. is responsible for the overall functioning of the Coop. They apprdve budgets, hiring, and firings and make sure that we are in compliance with our mission statement and bylaws. B.O.D. meetings are open to members. The paid staff of OFC is a collective. We make decisions by consensus and our pay scale is based solely on seniority, not job descriptions. We each have a home store and meet with that group of staff biweekly to make decisions about the day to day operations of the stores. We are responsible for all daily aspects of running the Coop.
The volunteer working member system and the fact that we are still collectively run distinguishes us from most Coops. Very few have either, much less both, systems as basic to the definition of Coops.