A cooperative, or co-op, is a business owned by the members, controlled by the members, for the benefit of the members. Often, co-ops are created by people outside of the main power structure to improve access to goods and services.
There are several types of co-ops:
- Worker co-ops (sometimes called employee co-ops) are businesses formed, owned and controlled by the workers.
- Producer co-ops are formed by people who produce goods and services, such as crafts and food. These co-ops may collectively purchase goods and services for their businesses and/or market their own goods.
- Consumer co-ops purchase goods and services such as groceries, heating fuel, financial services and housing for their members.
Co-ops usually share some features:
- Profits are distributed to the members in proportion to the use of goods and services.
- They are democratically controlled by a one-member, one-vote system. Each member has equal decision-making authority.
- They are designed to provide members with goods and services at a reasonable cost, not to profit individual members or to make a lot of money.
- They adhere to the International Co-operative Alliance Principles.
In New Hampshire, ROC-NH™ helps residents who live in manufactured home communities form consumer cooperatives to collectively purchase their communities. The New Hampshire Community Loan Fund may then provide some of the money for the purchase, and ROC-NH provides ongoing training and technical assistance to helps co-ops manage their communities as both a business and a democratically run organization.
Learn more about how resident-owned communities are governed.
Learn more about how committees work in resident-owned communities.
Learn more about the rights and responsibilities of members of resident-owned communities.