The above information will be used only by Outpost Natural Foods for the express purpose of sending an e-newsletter. Outpost shopper information is never shared with other organizations or businesses.

See what’s happening at your local co-op - Sign up for the Outpost Newsletter!

Not a user yet? Sign up Now  |  Forget your password? Click here
Your Board

Hi, I'm Your Board

Outpost's Board of Directors will use this blog to discuss issues the board is exploring as it envisions Outpost's future. Can't make it to a meeting? Check here frequently to read what the Board is up to. Your current Outpost Board of...
Your Board

This Year, Give the Gift of an Owner Loan

Board Beet
By Your Board on December 1, 2016

I had a discussion with a friend the other day who told me that she was a member of Costco, so maybe she should sign up to be a member of Outpost too. She asked about Outpost “membership”.

Whoa, hold on.

When you buy a share to become an Outpost owner, you are investing in a cooperative business. This is your business co-owned by you and other like-minded owners. This is the fundamental difference between your membership at Costco - which basically allows you to shop there - and your ownership of Outpost.

As an owner, you have a voice that can help shape the direction of the co-op. Also, you can enjoy some financial benefits from owner programs and discounts. If there is a profit at the end of the fiscal year, owners receive patronage rebates.

This year, Outpost needs to raise money to pay for the following capital items:

  • Updated technology and operating system
  • Updated coolers and store equipment
  • Greater variety of fresh food options

In order to do this, Outpost is asking owners to consider loaning their money to the co-op. Owner loans have been in place at Outpost since 1985 (with no defaults!). Indeed, similar programs are in place in co-ops throughout the country. In this program, Outpost owners can loan $1000 or more to Outpost ($1000 is the minimum loan amount). The loan has a term of three years and interest rates can be up to 3% per year. At the end of the loan term, Outpost pays back the loan amount plus interest.   

Why consider an owner loan?

An owner loan is like putting your money into a CD at the bank, but better.

  • You will be investing in your business (Outpost!), and helping the cooperative to help make improvements. Your business will acquire state-of-the-art equipment and will be well positioned for the future.
  • You will allow your business to have access to a lower interest rate than the interest rate available at a bank. In addition, all bank fees are avoided.
  • The pool of money invested will stay local and will be circulated within the Milwaukee area.  
  • You will find comfort knowing that you have made a socially responsible investment.

At a technical level, owner loans are a bit riskier than bank CDs because they are subordinate to bank debt.  These investments - or loans - are open to owners only, and their term begins after board approval.

So, this year, rather than spending money on Christmas kitsch, why not give the gift of an Owner Loan?  Call Doshia Troyer at 414-431-3377 ext 162 for more information.

Happy Holidays!


Swati Agterberg

Board Director


co-op stronger together
Outpost is part of an international movement. Learn all about cooperatives now.

Archived Columns