The Barossa Community Co-operative Store, ‘The Co-op”, is Australia’s leading retail co-operative. Formed in 1944, The Co-op is the largest and longest standing consumer co-operative in Australia. It has 18,100 members that currently own the Barossa Shopping Centre of 24 tenancies, as well as operating 6 businesses within the Centre (including a Foodland, Mitre 10 and Betta Home Living), which allows The Co-op to directly employee over 300 staff.
Membership is open to any individual through the minimum purchase of a single share for $2 dollars. The Co-op distributes over $600,000 to its members annually through interest on share capital, interest on accumulated rebates and rebates on qualifying purchases. In 2016-2017, members also shared in savings worth over $1,000,000 through The Co-op’s instant rebate saving scheme.
The Co-op is a community asset and fulfills a social function by providing an informal meeting place for people in the Barossa. Moreover, it gives additional value to its members, suppliers and the local community, which is often not reported in financial statements, through its provision of time, facilities and equipment to help schools, community groups and fundraising groups appropriate opportunities. The Co-op is not only a successful business, supplying products and services to its members and community, but also creates financial, human and social and relationship capital for its members, suppliers and the business.
To find out more about the history of co-operatives in Australia, view here.