Frequently Asked Questions

 

What makes a co-op different?

Cooperatives are Owner-owned, Owner-governed businesses that operate for the benefit of their Owners according to common principles agreed upon by the international cooperative community. In co-ops, Owners pool resources to bring about economic results that are unobtainable by one person alone. For more information on co-ops click here.

 

Do you have to be an owner to shop?

No, everyone is welcome. It benefits you as a customer to be an Owner but you do not need to be one to shop here.

 

Do I have to work to become an owner?

No, you don't have to work to become an Owner. However, if you would like to become a Working-Owner you can earn a 10% discount by volunteering with us for a few hours a month. Contact Beth Dickens at ownership@bluehill.coop for more information and work assignments.  

 

How many hours do I need to volunteer to earn an Owner Discount?

For a single adult household you must work two hours a month. For a household with two or more adults you must work a total of four hours, which can be shared with the other adults. 

 

How much does it cost to become a member?

To become a fully vested Owner of the Co-op you must invest $200 in equity. This amount is payable in increments of $20 a year over a maximum of 10 years.

 

What is the difference between equity and a membership fee?

First of all, once you pay off the $200 of equity, you are an Owner for life and don't need to pay anything else. Also, if you no longer wish to be a Co-op Owner, for whatever reason, you can request your equity back and be entirely refunded (minus a $10 processing fee).

     

    What’s the benefit of joining?

    By becoming an Owner, you are supporting a democratic organization dedicated to supplying food, sharing information, practicing economic and environmental sustainability, and encouraging community strength. You can also save with Bonus Buys which offers savings exclusively to Owners.  Every full moon Owners get 10% off storewide (excluding periodicals and pre-orders) and a chance to enter our Full Moon Raffle. Owners can also get an annual equity return in certain situations. For more information, read about becoming an Owner here.

     

    Do I get a discount for joining?

    Every full moon owners get 10% off storewide (excluding periodicals and pre-orders) and a chance to enter our Full Moon Raffle. Owners may also get an annual equity return. You can also save with Bonus Buys which offers savings exclusively to owners. Working-Owners who volunteer 2-4 hours a month also earn a discount.

     

    Is everything here organic?

    The Co-op tries to buy as much organic product as possible but not everything we carry is certified organic. However, everything we buy does have to match certain standards.  Here is a link to our buying policy.

     

    What is local?

    We call anything that is made or grown in Maine "local". We do like to sell as many products from the Blue Hill Peninsula as possible but to support more farmers and producers we include the entire state in our local selections. 

     

    Why does the selection of products change?

    The Co-op Deals Sales flyer (a program that comes from National Co-op Growers) offers very good pricing for all of our customers in our packaged grocery section.  This brings in many new products at low prices so we make room for those items on our shelves.  When those items return to their higher, regular price we often stop selling them in favor of carrying a lower-priced version of a similar product. For example, we try to have one brand of olive oil at the low sale price whenever possible.

     

    Can you order me something you don’t stock?

    Yes, we offer pre-orders! Come in and check our supplier catalogues to check availability. For more information click here.

     

    What is a pre-order?

    As a special service to our community, we offer customers the chance to buy products in case sizes, both items carried in the store or products you find or need from one of our suppliers’ catalogs. The catalogues are available for your perusal in our Café, or you can find them online. For more information click here.

     

    How do I do a pre-order?

    Simply find your items in the catalogues provided in the cafe (or online) and fill out the pre-order form. Hand the completed form to a Co-op employee and you are all set!

    Pre-Order Form

     

    Why are the prices what they are?

    Retail prices at the Co-op are directly dependent upon the prices we pay for that product. If our costs go up the retail price goes up, if our costs go down, the retail prices also goes down. Our costs are determined by how much we buy and the quality and nature of the products we purchase. Certified organic and local items cost more for the Co-op to purchase, therefore the retail price is higher than at a larger, conventional, grocery chain.

     

    I have something I want to sell, who do I talk to?

    Great, we'd love to see it! Send an email to info@bluehill.coop.

     

    What is your Return Policy?

    For any reason you are not satisfied with a product you have purchased from us you may return it.

    • If you have a receipt, please bring it to the store to receive a full refund.
    • If you don’t have a receipt, please bring it to the store to receive store credit.

     

    Did you have a question that wasn't answered here?

    Please feel free to call us any time or use the form below to send us an email.

     
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