Frequently Asked Questions
What is a consumer-owned co-op?
A consumer co-op is a community-owned business whose members share ownership and benefit from its products and services. Each member owns an equal part of the co-op through the purchase of a one-time investment share. All members have one vote in governance.
There are 46 business-related co-ops in Minneapolis and eight are in the retail sector. We will be the first fabric co-op in the metro area, and in the state!
Why are you forming a cooperative?
Our cooperative purpose is to re-open a fabric shop in South Minneapolis at 3400 Bloomington Avenue. We want to provide a place for quilters, sewists, and crafters to purchase quality fabric and supplies. We want to build a community to share skills and celebrate the creations we make.
A co-op business model relies on many community members making an investment in a business they care about. An elected board ensures the health of the co-op and represents its members. This collective structure means a store may not have to close just because the manager is retiring or there is an economic downturn. It is a more sustainable business model.
How is the co-op structured?
The board is comprised of 7 individuals, elected by the members. The board will oversee hiring, with employees reporting to the board. Once a year there is an annual meeting, at which time members are presented the annual report.
How does starting a co-op differ from other small business launches?
There are many similarities when it comes to the details of launching a business. We have moved through the formation, feasibility, and business planning stages. As a part of "pre-launch," we are fine-tuning the operations and preparing for the store opening. We anticipate seeing growth and profitability around years 3 and 4.
The key differences are in the structure and decision making, as well as the shared investment and benefit for all members.
How is the store funded?
The store is funded by a combination of membership shares, financial lenders, community investment groups, and member loans & gifts. Membership shares are essential to the financial health of our co-op. They give us leverage for other funding sources and sustain us long-term.
As a member, do I need to work at the store?
No. In the 70's and 80's cooperatives often had volunteers work in the store, either as part or in place of their member investment. For safety and legal reasons, co-ops no longer employ this practice.
Do I have to live in Minnesota to be a member?
Anyone is welcome to join the Quilt Shop Co-op, regardless of their location. However, as a local shop, those who live in the Twin Cities area will be able to partake in the most benefits.
What are the member benefits?
The co-op is open to everyone, but, as a member, your support makes the stores possible and you enjoy these benefits:
- Shop locally for high-quality fabrics, notions, and classes
- Enjoy member-only events and specials
- Influence inventory selection, suggest class topics, elect board members
- Engage with the community of Quilt Shop Co-op members
How can I help?
The number one way to support the co-op is by becoming a member and recruiting other interested individuals.
Spreading the word about Quilt Shop Co-op is another big help. You can share our website and Facebook page or invite us to speak at a Guild or other related meeting.
We also accept monetary gifts beyond your one-time member investment share. It is important to note that monetary gifts are not tax-deductible because the co-op is not a non-profit. If you are interested in providing a gift or learning about our member loan program, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org