SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--On June 11, 2016, the Cooperative Development Foundation awarded Central Co-op the Cooperative Innovation and Achievement Award at 2016’s Consumer Cooperative Management Association (CCMA) Conference. The award is given to cooperative innovators who have changed the way that cooperatives approach problems with measurable improvements or achievements that resonate with the cooperative principles and the cooperative’s mission. Central Co-op is the first to receive this award since 2009.
“We are honored and humbled to receive this award,” said Dan Arnett, Cooperator in Chief. “Everyone at Central Co-op - members, trustees and staff - can feel proud knowing that they have contributed to building a cooperative business that is nationally recognized. We are especially grateful for the support from our local and global cooperative community that helped us to succeed in so many ways.”
Some of the achievements that Central Co-op is being recognized for include their recent conversion to a solidarity-model of worker and consumer ownership, their implementation of a very progressive wage and benefits package, and their adoption of 12 principles which extend from the 7 Cooperative Principles of the International Cooperative Alliance.
As a community-owned cooperative with more than 15,000 active members, Central Co-op is democratically governed and strives to reflect the values of their members. The Co-op emphasizes quality, fair-trade and organically produced products. A founding member of Seattle Good Business Network’s “Seattle Made” initiative, the Co-op offers products from over 60 Seattle-based suppliers. Reflecting cooperative principle 7 (Concern for Community), Central Co-op donated over $30,000 to local organizations in 2015.
In 2014, Central Co-op implemented an entry level wage of $15 per hour for entry level employees, with 100% coverage of medical, dental and vision benefits at 28 hours per week or more. This was the highest total-compensation package for entry-level-grocery employees in the nation and today it is even higher as Central now pays entry level employees $15.64 per hour. Central Co-op has since seen continued sales growth annually, a powerfully positive shift in workplace culture, and a measureable increase in qualified applicants. Central Co-op’s total average wage is $20.32 per hour.
This year’s CCMA conference, “Disrupting the Future: Cooperative Food and the Next Generation,” focused on challenging leadership in the cooperative sector to address diversity and inclusion.
About Central Co-op
Founded on Seattle’s Capitol Hill in 1978, Central Co-op is a community-owned natural foods cooperative with locations in Seattle and Tacoma. A complete grocery store dedicated to sustainable practices and the Washington food economy, Central Co-op features organic produce, humanely raised meat and wild seafood, a large selection of bulk goods and herbs, an extensive health and wellness section and unique gifts. In 2015, Central Co-op members voted to convert to a solidarity structure with both worker and consumer ownership. Open to everyone, seven days a week, and now offering delivery in Seattle through Instacart, Central Co-op has more than 15,000 active owners, and in January of 2015 became the first grocery store in the nation to pay better than $15/hour at entry level with full benefits for full time workers. More information is available at www.centralcoop.coop.
About the CCMA Awards
The annual CCMA Awards are an opportunity for consumer cooperatives to honor colleagues and fellow cooperatives for their achievements and accomplishments. The awards are managed by the Howard Bowers Fund, a program of the Cooperative Development Foundation, a 501-C3 foundation based in Washington DC. The Bowers Fund supports training and education of food cooperative managers, staff and boards. Since 1994, the Howard Bowers Fund has provided over $390,000 in support for food cooperatives.