We can find cooperatives all over the world, planted among the many stores and businesses we come across. In the States, co-operatives are found in all sorts of industries. Let’s find out more about these enterprises in the U.S.!
#1- Indigo Vintage Cooperative – Artisan Co-op
You should never miss a vintage shop when you see one; you’ll never fail to be pleasantly surprised by all the knick-knacks and quirky tees you can find there!
This cosy vintage stall is an artisan cooperative that houses local vendors to provide a shared space to showcase their vintage goodies. Here you can find throw overs, band tees, multi-colour jackets, high-waist jeans and the list goes on. Indigo Vintage encourages entrepreneurship and partnership, enabling members to meet their common economic, cultural and social goals as well as aspirations and certainly allows customers to snag a good buy from here!
#2- Loren Miller Housing Cooperative
Over in the U.S., there are over a million families living in co-operative housing! Loren Miller Homes is one of the many homes that provide affordable housing for the community. Such homes run as a cooperative where members can vote democratically, pooling members’ resources to lower costs and maintain mutual agency. These cooperatives not only offer inexpensive housing but also promote sustainable cities and communities in the States. Hmm… do you think this housing concept is feasible in Singapore?
#3- Ocean Spray
Ocean Spray begun way back in 1930 when 3 cranberry growers came together to form a cooperative as a means of expanding their own businesses. The founders collaborated and launched their first product – jellied cranberry sauce. As they grew, more and more farmers came onboard the family of cranberry farmers. Through which, they achieved a competitive advantage with their pooled resource and concurrently created the presence of community, rather than competition, among the farmers!
#4- Florida’s Natural
Similarly, Florida’s Natural, established in 1933, was a collaboration among citrus farmers. They pride themselves in their 100% pure, not from concentrate juices. Today, they have grown to more than a thousand growers; each having an ownership share of the company. The structure of this cooperative enables mutual benefit between the many owners and their consumers — it’s a win-win for all!
On top of their cooperative movement, Florida’s Natural is also supporting a charity organization, namely Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. The founder, Alexander Scott, was just four when she decided to start a lemonade stand fundraiser. She donated everything she earned to the hospital that she was admitted to in order to support children who were battling cancer just like she was. Alex definitely left a legacy and Florida’s Natural picked up on her ‘giving-all’ approach. With any purchase of Florida’s Natural Lemonade, all proceeds will be donated to the foundation which funds lifesaving research and improves the lives of children battling cancer.
There are all sorts of cooperatives all over the world yet they are unique to each individual country. These few cooperatives that we’ve explored are uncommon in Singapore; yet they are formed to meet the needs of the people and gives room for members to be part of a community!
This article was brought to you by Grace Lee who was an intern at SNCF during her university semester break from June to August 2019 and is currently pursuing her degree in Singapore Management University.