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Venice Ocean-Park Co-op
in its own words

Note from the webslave: To avoid redundancy, the whole content of any one flyer might not be here. All phone numbers and addresses are OLD and no longer valid.

The Newsletter of the Venice-Ocean Park Food Cooperative Vol. 1 No. 2 Spring 1978

The newsletter needs a name! Please send us your suggestions.

Our Story So Far

The impetus for VOP Co-op began with a number of factors, including the disbanding of the Free Venice Food Co-op (a buyers’ club) and the fact that Co-Opportunity (S.M.) is presently at the upper limit of members it can reasonably serve. Hundreds of potential members are on its waiting list.

It seemed clear there was potential for another cooperative in the Venice-Ocean Park area. Our initial focus, therefore, has been to plan a store that would serve the food needs of its members, that would recruit members from the entire community, and that would eventually participate in other, non-food, types of organizing. We’ve researched store economics, membership plans, fee structures, and managerial issues. We’ve visited other stores and went to co-op conferences. And we have told a number of community organizations, such as Campaign for Economic Democracy (CED), Coalition for Economic Survival (CES), Community Services Organization (CSO) and Womonspace of our plans.

So far, we have had a number of small-scale fundraising activities, such as booths at the Main Street Fair, the Very Venice Fair, the Women’s Fair, an all co-op slide show, a film festival, rummage sales, and several talks with neighborhood groups.

These events, and the Co-Opportunity waiting list indicate that there is a lot of demand for another cooperative store, and there is space and membership enough for both.
David, Linda, Peter & Ross

Our Goals

Our immediate goal is to open the store before the beginning of the summer. For a period of rime, probably about two years, the fledgling VOP Co-op will generally concern itself with immediate economic survival and the sheer pushing of food.

Our long-range goals include the establishment of a loose network of organizations that provide services to their clientele or memberships, and also provide continuous education regarding issues that affect them. Apart from providing good low-cost food, a food co-op can carry on nutritional education, frame food related issues such as world hunger, food additives, corporate farming, and land tenure patterns. We also hope to expand into cooperative housing.

As an activist co-op we hope to spawn and link with other groups to address needs in a grassroots, economically democratic and anti-corporate fashion. Thus, there is much potential for joint events by community organizations (including other co-ops) in conjunction with VOP Co-op, as well as the use of Co-op facilities for such events. Finally, we feel that any local-control initiatives will be stronger with the support of an active co-op.
David, Linda, Peter & Ross

1st Annual Meeting

The first Annual General Meeting of VOP Co-op took place on January 19th at the home of Peter Fonda-Bernardi and was attended by about 25 people.

In the cooperative spirit, different members of the organizing committee presented various aspects of the Co-op’s activities over the past year.

Brett Bogeaus presented the yearly Financial Statement. He was followed by Judith Edelstein and Quentin Josephy who reviewed the Co-op’s past fundraising activities and those projected for the future. David Thompson sketched out our long-range goals and how we hoped to achieve them. Finally, Jim Congdon shared his feelings about being a new member and what steps he thought were necessary to see the Co-op open.

After questions, we turned to home made refreshments and friendly conversation.
Brett

Weekly Meetings

We meet every Thursday from 8 to 10 PM at the Church in Ocean Park (corner of 2nd and Hill Streets in Santa Monica.) Why not come to our next meeting and join in?

Our Biggest Event

We were fortunate in having Jerry Voorhis, "Mr. Co-op," speak at our March 5th event. Even though ill, he spoke with knowledge and concern, stressing the need for people to become involved in the co-operative movement, for persistence, and for the study of neighborhood needs. He also suggested the various fields into which the cooperative movement can move: auto repair, health care, memorial society, credit unions, to mention but a few.

We ended the cooperative evening with an interesting film, Moses Coady, about a priest who organized farmers and fishermen in Nova Scotia into a strong cooperative movement.

Current Financial Statement (As of February 1978)
Members: 55
Share Capital: $1,500
Working Capital: $280
Pledges: $3,500
Total: $5,280
(compiled by Brett)

Why I Joined the Co-op

When I read the VOP Co-op article in the January Free Venice Beachhead, I thought to myself, "If I’m genuinely interested in seeding a peaceful personal and social milieu, then I should attend the Cooperative’s Thursday evening meeting and perhaps, become a part of a working idea that I truly believe in.

I did attend and was impressed with what I heard about plans for the Co-op and with the vibrations I felt in my interaction with Co-op members. I decided to become a member, and since, have committed myself to being active in Co-op planning.

I have witnessed successful cooperatives in Vermont, Nevada, and now, here in California. I believe food co-ops to be a superior means of insuring us of an adequately fed and healthy America for all, regardless of race, color, creed, class, age, or sex.

Be good to yourself, your neighbors, and the Venice-Ocean Park community: join VOP Co-op and partake in its everyday growth.
Dave

IF YOU WANT THE VENICE/OCEAN PARK COOP TO OPEN THIS SUMMER YOU MUST JOIN IT NOW

We have a simple problem which prevents us from opening the store and you can help us overcome it. The problem is capital…the solution is members. We have set a goal of $10,000 as the money we will need to open up a store and have the basic inventory and equipment to serve the initial membership. We presently have 55 members who have bought about $1,500 in shares, and $3,500 in pledges. That gives us half of our total. The more members and membership capital we can obtain the easier it is to get loans from other people.

You and your friends can join the cooperative by paying a three dollar joining fee (non-refundable) and buying your first membership share for $10. (A membership is five shares.) None of the share money will be spent until the co-op has the $10,000 necessary to actually open the store. Until this occurs, all share capital received is placed in a special Credit Union account. (Share capital is refundable within 30 days upon request.)

We are hoping to open the store around June of this year so we have only four months to go in obtaining capital. In the meantime, we will be urging people in the Venice-Ocean Park area to support the Co-op by buying a share.

VOP Co-op will not happen unless enough people play a part. Don’t sit back and wait for it to happen because it can’t happen without you. Step forward, write us, implore us with your share payment. If enough of you do so in the next few months we will all have a store to show for our efforts. A cooperative one at that, owned by the people who use it, controlled by the members. So sit down now and send us your check. You will appreciate your help.
David

(Checks are payable to "Venice-Ocean Park Food Cooperative" and should be mailed to: 1036 Superba Av., Venice 90291)

Hot Flashes

A book sale is being planned. Anything you can donate in the way of books, magazines, etc. will be gratefully appreciated. Call 396-2132

Potluck Dinner for members. Tentatively set for May 7. Bring your favorite food to share. We’ll let you know where.

Mystery Event… a biggy. But it’s too soon to tell. (They call this a teaser in the trade.)

Whaddyou wanna do, Marty? Let us know what you find fun or interesting. What kind of event you would like to attend. Call 396-2132.

Name this rag…no name news has already been submitted. But if you have any others up your sleeves, wend them in. Call 396-2132

If any of you have some money to spare, why not consider filling out one of our loan-pledge sheets? A loan-pledge is a commitment to loan us the money at the point which we have reached the $10,000 mark. Not until we have the money will we ask you for it, but it will give us a better idea of how many people are willing to lend us.

This edition of the newsletter was made possible by the following members: Brett Bogeaus, Peter Fonda-Bernardi, Quentin Josephy, Linda Macalusa, Ross Moster, Dave Tappan & David Thompson

OPENING SOON - VOP CO-OP

What is VOP CO-OP?
It is an abbreviation for Venice Ocean Park Cooperative, a membership owned and controlled foodstore which will provide low cost, high quality food to the Venice-Ocean Park neighborhoods.

How does it operate?
The store is organized around three principles:
-- Each member pays a monthly "direct charge" to cover overhead costs.
--Each member contributes volunteer labor to help run the store.
--Each adult member helps to provide capital by making a money investment (returnable in case of withdrawal.).

How much is the monthly direct charge?
Each adult (18 or older) pays $3.00 per month, while each child (5 or older) pays $1.00 per month. The "direct charge" remains the same regardless of the amount of goods purchased. The monthly overhead (funded by this charge) is illustrated by the following budget (tentative):
--rent……………….900 dollars
--salaries/benefits…1000
--insurance…………150
--utilities……………200
--telephone………….50
--miscellaneous…….300
--total 2600 dollars

How much volunteer labor is required?
Each adult member will volunteer about two hours per month. Arrangements will be made to accommodate handicapped, elderly and other members with special circumstances.

How much capital investment is required?
Each adult member pays ten dollars on joining and agrees to pay five dollars per month until of total of 50 dollars has been invested. The total need of the store is reflected in the following organizational budget (tentative):

License/Fees/Deposits………....500 dollars
Rent (1st and last month)……...1800
Remodeling…………………......700
Professional/Legal Services…...300
Printing/Publicity………………...100
Inventory………………………..3200
Equipment…………..............…3800
Capital Reserve……….............2000
Total…………………..............12,400 dollars

What if I don’t have much money; can I still become a member?
Yes. Those who cannot afford do pay according to the regular payment schedule will be able to select an alternative schedule of payment which they can afford. However, all members of the Co-op must buy shares and work in the store.

Will I save money buying in the VOP Co-Op Food Store?
Because of volunteer labor and no-frills marketing, the store can save you money every month, the amount depending on how much and what type of food you buy.

Where will the store be located?
No specific location has been chosen yet. Our policy is to select a central location in the Venice-Ocean Park area (bounded by Ocean Park Blvd. to the north, Lincoln Blvd. To the east, and Venice Blvd. to the south) near public transit lines.

If you know of any likely locations with For Rent/Lease signs and a minimum floor space of 1400 square feet - please call us at 399-4304

When will the store begin operations?
As soon as possible. We estimate that when 100 households have paid their initial investment, we will be able to sign a lease and begin operations. Until that time, all monies will be held in a trust account.

Who will set policies?
The Board of Directors guided by the expressed wishes of the membership will oversee the complete operation. Each member will have one vote regardless of the amount they invest over the $50.00 required amount.

Who will manage the store?
The board will hire a team of two full time workers to organize the daily work of the store.

What sort of goods may be purchased at the store?
Our first goal is a full line of retail groceries, but we expect to specialize in inexpensive bulk foods. The emphasis will be on low cost as well as organic or natural foods. At all times, the wishes and buying habits of the members will determine what items are stocked - including things other than groceries.

What will be the relationship between the store and the community?
A cooperative food store, unlike your run of the mill supermarket, is not owned b some mammoth, faceless corporation, but by the people who use it. This arrangement is not only nicer, but cheaper. We plan to have a peoples store - a store which not only provides nutritious, low cost food, but one which also serves as a center for local cultural and political activities as well.

What is the underlying philosophy of the VOP Co-Op - What makes this store unique?
The VOP Co-op is devoted to cooperation and mutual aid in the supplying of basic human needs. We seek to develop product information that reflects our concern for nutrition, ecology, and economy; to enable members to evaluate the ethical use of their buying power; to recover for the consumer a greater measure of free choice; to develop a solid economic structure based on sharing and collaboration, rather than profit.

We are about to open - Join Us Now
We meet every Thursday night from 7:30 to 10:00 PM at the home of Kurt Buser on 945-½ Lake Street in Venice - just 3 blocks from the Fox. If you are interested, call us at 396-2132, 399-4304, or 399-5736 - or better yet, join us on THURSDAYS!

Mailing address
1036 Superba Ave. Venice CA

Something is being done

(in the original all the information also appears in Spanish)

VOP CO-OP
Food for People, Not for Profit
Venice Ocean Park Cooperative Commonwealth
839 Lincoln Ave. Venice, CA 90291 399-5623

VOP COOP is a cooperative food store which provided low cost, high quality food to residents of neighboring areas.

Cooperatives are organizations which are owned and operated by their members. By sharing both the responsibilities of management and the costs of investment, coop members enjoy better quality products and services at lower prices. Belonging to a cooperative enables people to increase control over their own lives.

VOP COOP envisions a future cooperative commonwealth which meets human needs for food, housing, energy and health care in a spirit of mutual support embracing the entire community. Membership is open to everyone who shares the coop’s ideals and agrees to accept its policies.

Member Control
The COOP, unlike a big chain supermarket, is run by the people who use it. Each member has one vote, regardless of the number of shares s/he owns. In addition to quarterly meetings of the full membership, the Board of Directors, elected by the members, meets monthly to decide store policies. The COOP hires staff to oversee day-to-day store operations.

How to Join
- by attending an orientation meeting. Orientations are held on Saturdays 12:00 noon - 2:00
-by purchasing at least one share of $10.00 upon joining. Shares are refunded at face value when a member withdraws from the coop.
- by paying a monthly direct charge of $5. In lieu of paying the direct charge a member may work off this fee through volunteer labor in the store at the rate of $2.50/hour. The direct charge for senior citizens or handicapped persons is $2.50 or one hour of work in the store.

Benefits
Financial - save money on your food purchases
Social - shop and work with your neighbors in a friendly place
Political - exercise consumer power and build a cooperative movement
Individual - control your store through your vote, learn new skills
Nutritional - buy products which are good for your health
Environmental - support production and processing which are good for the earth

The Store
VOP COOP stocks high quality natural foods, fresh produce and dairy products, low cost paper and canned goods, frozen meat, kitchenware and more. COOP members decide what they want their store to carry. Non-members are welcome to shop at VOP COOP at a higher price.


All addresses, phone numbers, etc in the above are OLD. This is a historical document

 

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