Straight From the Board: March 2015

by Siddeeq Shabazz, Board Member

What a whirlwind it’s been since the 2014 Annual Member Meeting, especially seen from the perspective of a new board member! The learning curve has been steep and fast, but it has helped me understand just how important this Co-op is in our community. I now better understand what a cooperative is, why it’s different from every other store in Las Cruces, and why I want to shop at and support the Co-op. 

Personally, this may be the most important thing I’ve come to understand since our last Annual Member Meeting:

There seems to be an upsurge in national corporations coming to recognize that over the decades, cooperatives like MVM have enabled a well-developed market for clean and healthy foods and supplements. I guess it’s understandable that corporations would jump in and peel off some revenue from what is now a fully developed market. And, because of their corporate scale buying discounts, they can sometimes offer some products for less. In the short term, that once seemed like a bargain. However, I’ve had to face the difficult fact that if I spend my money in corporate industries, it’s extracted from — not cycled back into — this community. It’s siphoned from our community and sent somewhere else, to pay CEOs and stockholder dividends to people who live and work elsewhere.

Okay, so that’s just the way corporations operate; that’s what they do with their “profit.” That’s just part of what they do... what they believe in. The corporate model is commonplace and almost unavoidable in our culture today. It’s an economic model, but not the only model. And when I do have a choice, I can choose to shop in a way that invests in our local cooperative. It just seems so much smarter and so much more responsible than supporting far away corporate headquarters, CEOs and shareholders that drain our community’s resources.

And in respect to making better choices, I’ve come to realize the importance of choosing to contribute my support and my money to local businesses like Mountain View Market Cooperative. In accordance with cooperative principles and values, the Co-op folds it’s “profit” back into our community. These principles and values have enabled us to successfully provide unequalled contribution to our community and local economy for the past 40 years. As I raise my children in this community, I choose to commit my time, loyalty, and hard-earned money to our local cooperative future. The cooperative economic model and the good folks at the Co-op insist on putting cooperation and support for our community first. I’ve made my choice and hope that you’ve chosen the Co-op model, too. Please share with your friends, family, and neighbors, as I do, why you’ve chosen the Cooperative model.

MVM Co-op Supports the Community

The Board supports our member owners’ values through one of the unique aspects of a cooperative, the Ends Policy. Through this policy the Co-op continues to be an unmatched contributor to our community and local economy. 

Mountain View Market Cooperative Ends

  1. The community benefits from outreach, support, and education.
  2. The Co-op provides information and access to healthy food and health products.
  3. The Co-op models sustainable living.
  4. The Co-op reflects inclusivity and diversity.
  5. The Co-op is a viable alternative economic model based on cooperative principles and values.
  6. The Co-op supports local and regional production and encourages a diverse food system. 

Did you know that...?

Mountain View Market Cooperative was, years ago, one of the first businesses in Las Cruces to start their employees at a much higher wage than the mandated minimum, continuously striving to offer a “Livable Wage”? Recent changes in health care policy have raised that figure. In alignment with our commitment, Shahid and the rest of the Co-op’s leadership team are committed to doing what it takes to reach the new and higher “Livable Wage”.

In order to live up to the high expectations of our member-owners, Board of Directors, and GM, employees are cross-trained in all departments, to greet you with a smile at the register or in the aisles, but also to stock shelves, manage kitchen duties, and more. And of course, the Co-op enjoys the unparalleled benefit of 40 years of service in this community in the realms of health, wellness, and nutrition.

Member-owners showed their vote of confidence in the Co-op’s leadership by investing $250,000 in the Member Loan Campaign last year, which will support the remodel and new services and products in the store.

We serve our community and local economy by supporting many local farmers, and entrepreneurial, local, small business vendors and manufacturers. This is another unique and fundamental aspect of the Cooperative Principles and Values. 

A Few Member-Owner Benefits

As a member-owner you are invested in the Co-op. You have a voice and a vote that matters. As Co-op member-owners, you’re encouraged to engage regularly with board members. Board members have committed to being in the store as much as possible on Member-Owner Appreciation Days — the first and third Thursdays of each month — when all members can shop with a 5% discount on all non-sale items. Member-Owners are also welcome to place bulk special orders at a 10% discount. Feel free to ask any of our friendly staff for details.

Also, as member-owners, feel free to approach any board member on Member-Owner Appreciation day with questions and ideas. It’s our privilege to spend time with you, and our commitment to assure that your voice is heard and represented through the Board of Directors. And of course, you’re always welcome to contact us by phone, email, or snail-mail, and always encouraged to share your views at our monthly board meetings on the 4th Wednesday of each month at 5:30pm at the co-op.

Perhaps one of the most important benefits afforded to member-owners is our commitment to democratic ownership with our policy of “one member, one vote.” This is the cooperative way. It’s part of our commitment to you. We invite and encourage everyone to make your vote count this year by joining us at our Annual Member-Owner Meeting on April 11, 2015.

You can also vote in the Board election, engage with the Board of Directors, GM and staff, and learn about our expansion, our unique value in the community, and the future direction of the Co-op.

Meet with and sample products from some of the local producers that MVM is able to support through your participation and engagement. Spend time and have conversation with other member-owners who share your values and commitment to our community. Celebrate the Grand Re-opening of the Co-op after 40 years of business. Watch for the details about the lighting ceremony for our new sign, and the date and location of the Annual Member Meeting. 

Thank you so much for entrusting the Board with championing your collective best interests as the Mountain View Market Cooperative’s valued member owners.

In co-operation,

Mountain View Market Board of Directors