About the TPSS Co-op
Takoma Park Silver Spring Co-op is a natural foods cooperative business owned by our friends and neighbors. Our mission is to ensure that our customers have access to goods produced in socially and environmentally responsible ways, with an emphasis on local and organic foods, at reasonable prices and in a welcoming community marketplace setting.
The TPSS Co-op started as a vegetarian storefront on Sligo Avenue in Takoma Park in 1981. In February of 1998, we moved to our store at Takoma Junction. Today, with a bigger store and a wider array of offerings (including beer and wine, meat and fish) we have nearly 10,000 members.
Here are some of the ways we are unique –
- Member-Owned: We are a member-owned cooperative, not a global corporation like Whole Foods or Wal-Mart. Anyone can become a member-owner and help shape the future of the store.
- Thoughtful Options: We offer products and services that protect and nurture the planet and our immediate area. Our buyers prioritize sustainable and organic food and fair-trade products from local and other small producers whenever possible.
- Community-Centered Business: We constantly reinvest our profits to benefit our members, our staff, and the broader community. Anyone can shop at the Co-op. And, members-owners receive every day Member Basics discounts, monthly 10% discounts, and special order discounts. We also sponsor memberships for folks receiving government benefits. And, we host community education events throughout the year, in addition to sponsoring and contributing to community events and programs.
- Humane Workplace: We are proud to be a major employer and taxpayer in the City of Takoma Park. We offer living wages with generous benefits. And we are proud of our staff of more than 45 people from 21 different countries. As of 2018, the International Workers of the World (IWW) represents a bargaining unit in our store.
What is a Co-op?
A cooperative, or “co-op,” is a business owned and democratically governed by its workers (a worker co-op) or its members (a member co-op, like us). Unlike other businesses whose purpose is to provide income to investors or shareholders, a co-op’s purpose is to serve its members and the community more broadly. Therefore, any surplus income is reinvested in the co-op business, donated to the community, or returned to the member-owners at the end of the fiscal year. Member-owners have a say in how a co-op conducts its business and the services and support it provides, by electing member representatives to the Board. Sure can’t do that at Whole Foods or Wal-Mart! They also reap the benefits of monthly discounts and special member-owner pricing and sales.
Seven Cooperative Principles
Cooperatives around the world are guided by a set of core principles and values:
- Voluntary and Open Membership
- Democratic Member Control
- Member Economic Participation
- Autonomy and Independence
- Education, Training and Information
- Cooperation Among Cooperatives
- Concern for Community
These seven Cooperative Principles were adopted in 1995 by the International Cooperative Alliance, a global membership association of co-ops and co-op support organizations. Cooperatives trace the roots of these principles to the first modern cooperative, which was founded in Rochdale, England, in 1844. To learn more about cooperatives please visit National Co+op Grocers.
TPSS is a member of the National Cooperative Grocers (itself a co-op), which includes more than 150 co-ops around the country that work together to optimize resources, strengthen purchasing power, and offer more value to owners and shoppers.