If you wanted to live your life dealing exclusively with cooperatives, could it be done? Cooperatives represent a wide variety of industries that affect our daily lives including food, education, banks and more. While their products and services may be different, these businesses are bound together by a similar set of principles. These principles include being not-for-profit and democratically controlled by their membership.
This National Cooperative Month, we sought out to introduce you to other cooperatives in our community and give you a glimpse into what makes cooperatives so special.
TBA Credit Union
TBA Credit Union (TBACU) began in 1955 when several Traverse City teachers pooled together $50 in a cigar box to help fellow educators and school staff with their finances. Today, the credit union offers a wide variety of financial services to over 16,000 members in Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska and Leelanau counties. TBACU prides itself on being responsive to the financial needs of its membership and its continued exploration into innovative banking technologies.
“The cooperative difference means focusing on our community and members’ well-being, not the bottom line. When a new member walks in the door, our goal is to save them time and money, help them earn more money, add convenience to their daily life, and provide peace of mind.” –Christie Dompierre, Marketing Director, TBA Credit Union
Oryana Community Cooperative
Oryana Community Cooperative has sold high quality food as well as health and wellness products in Traverse City since 1973. Being the region’s first certified organic retailer, the co-op stocks items that are grown and produced using clean, sustainable and socially-just practices. Members of the cooperative enjoy a variety of store discounts throughout the year as well as discounts to other area stores in their Community Partners program.
“Being owned by the folks that use the cooperative means we work toward our quadruple bottom line: people, planet, purpose, and lastly profit. Being a cooperative is being an asset to a wonderful community.” –Steve Nance, General Manager, Oryana Community Cooperative
Traverse City Cooperative Preschool
For more than 40 years, the Traverse City Cooperative Preschool has operated as the only parent-run preschool program in the Grand Traverse area. The program combines teacher-led education with self-directed play time designed to develop skills that, later in life, will prepare the students for academic learning. Member-parents are encouraged to assist in the classroom and take an active role in their child’s development.
“It is extremely important as a parent to show my kids a positive example of living cooperatively in a society. This will not only enable them greater success as adults, but it will result in them being more caring and engaged citizens.” –Natalie Bailey, Board President, Traverse City Cooperative Preschool
CHS Inc. – Traverse City
CHS, the nation’s largest cooperative, serves farmers, consumers and home builders around the world through agronomy, eggs, energy, feed and lumber businesses. CHS Traverse City is one of four Michigan locations for this Fortune 100 company. In addition to access to global markets for export, CHS members are eligible for patronage in the form of shares and cash as well as voting rights in selecting their board of directors.
“Cooperatives are great to work for because they recognize that their employees are the most important asset they have; not only to the organization, but to the owners that they serve daily.”
Jeff Layman, Manager, CHS-Traverse City