What Is A Co-op?

Deep Roots Market is a consumer cooperative, where the people that shop here are the ones that benefit from our services. There are many cooperatives in the world, including retail cooperatives and worker-owned cooperatives in addition to consumer cooperatives. 

The following passage is adapted from the National Cooperative Business Association. It nicely sums up what makes our business structure different from that of conventional corporations.


  • Are owned and democratically controlled by their member-owners -- the people who use the co-op’s services or buy its goods -- not by outside investors; co-op member-owners elect their board of directors from within the ownership.
  • Return surplus revenues (income over expenses and investment) to member-owners proportionate to their use of the cooperative, not proportionate to their “investment” or ownership share.
  • Are motivated not by profit, but by service-to meet their member-owners’ needs or affordable and high quality goods or services; exist solely to serve their member-owners.

Interested in starting a co-op in your area? Learn more from the Food Co-op Initiative, Cooperative Development Services, and the National Cooperative Business Association. Or, speak to someone locally! Chatham Marketplace in Pittsboro, NC and Company Shops Market in Burlington are new North Carolina food co-ops.