The Common Market believes that a business owned by its shoppers is in the best position to meet the needs and desires of its shoppers.
By becoming an Owner, you are not only investing in wise choices regarding your health, you are investing as a partner in our business. The Common Market measures its success through a three-tiered bottom line, relating to social, economic, and environmental development. We believe that a business should be an aiding contributor to the local community and a caring community in and of itself. We make a conscious effort to give back to our growing community in numerous ways to demonstrate our gratitude for our community’s support. We’re here because we want the health of our families, our planet, and our store to grow.
Together, we can grow as consumers, as cooks, and as people. Want to be a part of this movement? Keep scrolling for more on the benefits, rights, and responsibilities of a Common Market Owner.
Everyone Can Shop, Anyone Can Join!
The Common Market is collectively owned by over 5,100 individuals. Our Co-op Owners shop in the store, teach and attend classes in our Community Room, serve on the Board of Directors, and help foster a rich and diverse community.
How Ownership Benefits You:
- Receive a 10% discount on Owner Appreciation Days (one transaction of your choice) in February, June, and October
- Receive special discounts from our Community Partners
- Receive Spoonful, the Common Market newsletter, delivered via mail or email
- New Owners receive exclusive coupons
- Receive a 20% discount on Community Room classes for yourself and one guest
- Receive a 12% discount on Special Orders
- Opportunity to serve on the Board of Directors
- Opportunity to attend OwnerFest, our annual meeting
- Receive a free tote bag
- Receive a Patronage Rebate in years when the Co-op is profitable
How Ownership Benefits the Community:
- Keeps farms in our community
- Keeps profits in our community
- Ensures that we can continue to carry out our mission in Frederick County
- Supports a home-grown business
- Encourages and supports sustainable farming practices
- Encourages and supports fair, ethical, and just business practices
In 2008, our Owners voted in favor of financial sustainability, and we entered the era of the Patronage Rebate System. Since its implementation in January of 2009, we have been profitable every fiscal year, allowing us to distribute rebates to all eligible Owners (those who spent enough throughout the fiscal year to earn more than $2 through the rebate system). Within the first four Patronage Rebate cycles, Owners donated over $10,000 to the Frederick Food Bank.
Our fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30, during which time we track each Owner’s purchases. At the end of the fiscal year, if we are profitable, we will distribute a portion of the profit to our Owners, in proportion to the amount they shopped throughout the year. The percentage of our profits that is distributed to Owners through our patronage rebate system is determined each year by our Board. This system allows our Owners to be able to reinvest more dollars back into the community, creating a healthy and local supporting cycle.
Patronage Rebate Vouchers expire after 90-days, during which time Owners have the option to redeem their checks at the register, cash them in, or donate them. After the expiration date, the Common Market is required to pay taxes on all un-redeemed vouchers.
How do I become an Owner?
Simply stop by our Service Desk to complete an equity share form and make a payment. A Customer Service Representative will be happy to assist you and explain all the extra perks that come along with becoming an Owner. The entire process takes about 5 minutes. Ownership is connected to an individual (who may vote and run for the Board), but the Owner’s household may use the discounts and the Owner card to track purchases towards the patronage rebate. An individual must be 18 years of age or older to become an Owner.
How much does it cost?
An equity share costs a total of $200. This is not an annual fee, but a one-time fee. The only time an Owner may be asked for more is if the price of Ownership on the whole rises, which would have to be voted upon by the Board.
Payment in full is always welcome, but we do also offer a payment plan of 8 quarterly payments of $25 each. If the installment payment system is selected, equity payments are due every three months, beginning from your joining date. That’s only two years of payments, but benefits for life!
Please ensure that payments are made in a timely fashion in order to remain an Owner In Good Standing. If an Owner fails to pay one of his or her installment payments and becomes a month overdue, that Owner is considered Not In Good Standing and may not receive such benefits as Owner Appreciation Days discounts or Patronage Rebate checks until another installment payment has been paid.
Can I get a refund if I move or change my mind?
Yes, equity shares are 100% refundable. Completed Refund Request Forms can be dropped off at the Co-op Service Desk or emailed to our Owner Services Specialist at email@example.com. Once the completed refund request form has been processed, it will be presented to the Board of Directors for approval at the next monthly Board meeting. Once approved, a check will be made for the amount invested and mailed to the former Owner. This process can take 6-8 weeks.