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«Background on NCG and Opportunities to Join and Participate National Co+op Grocers (NCG – formerly NCG) is a business services and development ...»

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Member dues Dues are also assessed annually to all NCG member co-ops based on sales volume. The annual dues formula is $1,000 plus 0.10% of annual sales. Dues are calculated on the basis of sales from 1 July through 30 June each year. New start-up co-ops with no current sales basis are assessed $500 base dues per year until the store completes four full quarters of operations.

Dues are payable to NCG at the beginning of each calendar year but members may opt to pay dues quarterly through the year.

Other financial obligations In addition, due to the system of shared liability for payables balances to UNFI (part of our UNFI contract), new member co-ops will need to put funds on deposit with NCG as part of our internal risk-management system. Ask your co-op’s corridor advisor for the “JLF explainer” for more details. (Note – we will supply this document only after receipt of an application and signed confidentiality agreements.) Eligibility and qualification for membership To join NCG, co-ops must meet all of the following new member qualifications and criteria. In addition, in reviewing new member applications, management and the board will evaluate potential member co-ops based on the characteristics listed.

New member qualifications (required)

1. Operate as a retail food cooperative (consumer or worker).

2. Committed to and capable of growth, profitability, and continuous improvement.

3. Exhibit competent planning for growth over the next 2-3 years.

4. Able to comply with established NCG standards.

5. Meets additional criteria as set by NCG management.

New member criteria as set by management (required) These criteria are subject to review and change as part of NCG’s annual business planning cycle.

1. Supports and abides by NCG board and management policies.

2. Has submitted at least 18 months of financial data to CoopMetrics/CoCoFiSt.

3. Current annual sales volume of $2 million or greater.

4. Produces monthly financial statements in accordance with GAAP (generally accepted

accounting principles), especially:

a. Records current portion of long term debt as a current liability.

b. Records depreciation and amortization monthly.

5. Conducts a complete physical inventory at least quarterly.

6. Operates with a point-of-sale system or back-end software capable of reporting to SPINS.

7. Has a loading dock, fork lift, or other methods for efficient unloading of deliveries.

New member characteristics (strongly preferred)

1. Skilled, experienced general manager/designated representative in place no less than six months.

NCG Background – updated January 2015 Page 5 of 8

2. Comprehensive budget in place and performance that reasonably matches projections.

3. Member equity structure in place that provides sufficient member capital for current and projected operational needs.

4. Designated representative in place who fully understands and enthusiastically embraces NCG member responsibilities.

5. Co-ops that have been affiliated with and participating in NCG as associate co-ops.

Start-up co-ops must be incorporated and have completed a feasibility study and a draft business plan demonstrating potential viability for the co-op and have demonstrated local community support through a functional board of directors and strong membership interest.

B. Associate Co-op NCG recognizes that not all interested co-ops may be eligible to apply for membership or able to participate at the membership level. The associate co-op option allows co-ops to join NCG and take advantage of many programs and services. This allows NCG to support the growth and development of all interested food co-ops, while also allowing us to further leverage our economies of scale in providing services to strengthen the entire food co-op sector.

The associate co-op category is a non-ownership method of affiliation. This means that there are no investment requirements and no ownership rights such as voting. Associate co-ops are not eligible for NCG’s core cost-of-goods contract (with UNFI and affiliates), Co+op Deals promotions program, and services deemed accessible only to members by NCG management.

Participation in NCG programs and meetings is not required of associate co-ops; all use of programs is optional. However, associate co-ops must meet all program-specific participation agreements for programs they do use and are bound by the terms and conditions of those agreements.

Benefits

Associate co-ops have access to the following programs and services:

• Full participation in CoCoFiSt (Common Cooperative Financial Statements, a data collection and benchmarking service administered by a third-party partner called CoopMetrics) including all data and tools. CoCoFiSt participants have access to comparative data from other participating food co-ops, as well as tools for analysis, reporting, and identifying opportunities for operational improvements.

• Regional and national development programs to help co-ops address the challenges they face and share best practices. This includes regional and national peer group meetings, store audits, training programs and educational resources, small working group and interest group activities, and related programs.





• Group discounts based on national contracts for value-added business services. Current discounted services are available on packaging and store supplies, garment rental and facilities services, credit card processing, a gift card program, inventory service, merchandising equipment, and printing/copying services.

• Brand support materials for the Co+op, stronger together brand. This does not extend to materials for Co+op Deals, NCG’s promotional program.

• Access to NCG’s Development Cooperative. The DC was created in October of 2008 to provide fee based improvement and relocation assistance services to food co-operatives.

Associate co-ops have access to all parts of the NCG website except those areas devoted to governance (e.g. board of directors and voting), member-only events, and proprietary programs such as the UNFI Supply Contract and Co+op Deals program. Associate co-op DRs can designate other staff members who can have access to other areas of the website related to specific programs.

NCG Background – updated January 2015 Page 6 of 8 All associate co-ops are assigned to one of the three NCG regional corridors – Eastern, Central, or Western. Associate co-ops are able to participate in corridor programs and activities, including corridor meetings, audits, working groups, and other such programs. Travel and lodging costs to attend national meetings are covered by NCG.

Associate co-op rights and requirements The associate co-op category is a contractual arrangement with NCG. All associate co-ops are required to sign an Associate Co-op Agreement that clearly spells out the rights, requirements, and benefits of associate co-ops.

Associate co-op financial requirements

Associate co-ops are required to pay NCG an annual fee based on the following formula:

$1,000 plus 0.10% (.001) of annual sales, calculated on the basis of sales from 1 July through 30 June each year. New start-up co-ops with no current sales basis will be assessed a $500 fee per year until the store completes four full quarters of operations. Fees are payable to NCG at the beginning of each calendar year but associate co-ops may opt to pay fees quarterly.

Associate co-ops are not eligible for deferred payment of these fees.

Associate co-ops are not subject to NCG capital requirements – common stock or base capital assessments. Associate cooperatives are also not eligible for NCG patronage distributions and associate co-op fees are not used in calculating ownership rights or patronage distributions.

Eligibility and qualification for associate co-op status To affiliate with NCG, potential associate co-ops must meet the following criteria. In addition, in reviewing new associate co-op applications, management and the board will evaluate the potential associate co-ops based on the following characteristics.

New associate co-op qualifications (required)

1. Operate as a retail food cooperative (consumer or worker).

2. Committed to and capable of growth, profitability, and continuous improvement.

3. Exhibit competent planning for growth over the next 2-3 years.

4. Able to comply with established NCG standards.

5. Meets additional criteria as set by NCG management.

New associate co-op criteria as set by management (required) These criteria are subject to review and change as part of NCG’s annual business planning cycle.

1. Supports and abides by NCG board and management policies.

2. Has submitted at least 18 months of financial data to CoopMetrics/CoCoFiSt.

New associate co-op characteristics (strongly preferred)

1. Skilled, experienced general manager/designated representative in place no less than six months.

2. Comprehensive budget in place and performance that reasonably matches projections.

3. Member equity structure in place that provides sufficient member capital for current and projected operational needs.

4. Designated representative in place who fully understands and enthusiastically embraces NCG associate co-op responsibilities.

Start-up co-ops must be incorporated and have completed a feasibility study and a draft business plan demonstrating potential viability for the co-op and have demonstrated local community support through a functional board of directors and strong membership interest.

NCG Background – updated January 2015 Page 7 of 8 Application Review Process – For Membership and Associate Co-ops Interested co-ops that meet the criteria, qualifications, and characteristics of either membership or associate co-op categories must submit an application and signed confidentiality and notification agreement. Once a complete application, with all required documents, has been

submitted, the following steps will be followed:

1. The application is reviewed by staff to ensure that the co-op meets the eligibility and qualification requirements for membership or associate co-op status. This process is led by Karen Zimbelman, NCG’s Director of Membership and Cooperative Relations, and involves corridor and national development team staff as well as NCG’s Chief Financial Officer.

2. If requirements and qualifications have been met, the application is then forwarded to the appropriate corridor steering committee for their review and comment. The application is then submitted to the CEO to determine if NCG’s board policy and business plan criteria and procedures have been met and if the applicant is a good candidate for affiliation at the membership or associate co-op level. These first two steps take approximately 60-90 days.

3. If eligibility and policy compliance is established, the CEO will submit the application and supporting documents for membership applications to the NCG board for final approval.

This step can only occur in conjunction with board meetings – currently scheduled in January, April, and September (subject to change).

4. Once the NCG board acts on an application, the applicant is informed within 7-10 days and, if accepted, is eligible to join the first day of the following calendar month.

For 2015, applications will only be accepted as of the first day of June (2015). In 2016 and going forward, applications will be due the first day of January and the first day of June.

Applicants will be informed as their application is reviewed and moves through the above steps, if their applications are incomplete, or if there are delays to processing their application. NCG’s business plan establishes a maximum number of co-ops that can join each year with a maximum number in each application cycle, as well. Currently this maximum is 12 new affiliates in the year with no more than six per application period.

Join Us!

National Co+op Grocers is a member-driven cooperative that works to secure a sustainable future of thriving locally owned food cooperatives. We hope you’ll be as excited about joining and participating in NCG as we are about building a strong food co-op system.

Additional materials you may wish to review. Contact Karen Zimbelman for these items.

For co-ops interested in affiliating with NCG as a member Member Rights and Responsibilities, Disclosures and Policies NCG Confidentiality and Notification Agreement Corridor Policies JLF Explainer (only sent to the prospective DR upon receipt of a completed application and signed confidentiality agreement) For co-ops interested in affiliating with NCG as an associate co-op NCG Associate Co-op Agreement NCG Confidentiality and Notification Agreement

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