Chatham Marketplace is a co-operative business owned entirely by members of the community – more than 2,700 households.
What is a co-op?
By definition, a cooperative is an independent group of people joining freely to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs via a community owned and democratically governed business.
All co-ops are guided by 7 basic principles:
- Voluntary and Non-discriminatory membership/ownership.
- Democratic control – you have a voice and a vote!
- Owner Economic Participation – members/owners contribute financially to their cooperative and also receive direct and indirect financial benefits.
- Independent – co-ops are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members/owners only.
- Educational – cooperatives offer education and training to their owners so they can successfully manage their co-op. They also educate the larger community about the nature and benefits of co-ops.
- Cooperation among Cooperatives – cooperative owners and the cooperative movement in general is served best by working collaboratively with other local, regional, national, and international co-op organizations.
- Concern for Community – while focusing on owner needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies accepted by their owners.
How we got started
Starting as a business idea proposed by a mom at a children’s playgroup, Chatham Marketplace opened on May 18, 2006 after several years of community outreach and fundraising. The Marketplace has grown into a bustling community hub with 2200 member-owners. Recently, a local partnership obtained our debt obligation. We are truly a locally grown and community owned grocery! Watch this cool video produced by Tami Schwerin that documents the humble beginnings of our co-op!
Our “Ends Statement”
An Ends Statement provides a vision of who we are and what is most important to us. Our Ends Statement is presented below.
Chatham Marketplace serves our owners and employees, our shoppers, our local farmers and local business community, and our broader community by being a flourishing co-op that:
- provides healthy quality food
- supports local agriculture
- strengthens local economy
- is a good place to work
- has an active ownership
- practices environmental stewardship
- is a catalyst for cooperation among community members
- serves as a community hub
- advances the well being of each community member
Our beautiful location
The store is located in Chatham Mills, a historic mill building that was once the world’s largest producer of woven clothing labels. The building has been renovated to house a variety of arts, retail and office spaces.
Our beautiful Pollinator Garden, designed and maintained by Debbie Roos, our local agriculture extension agent. attracts people from near and far to the lawn of the mill. Learn more about the garden.