Unifying the forces in a co-working and social way, especially in times of crisis as existing now, often gives rise to initiatives based on eco-sustainable models which deserve to be strengthened.
An example of undisputed charm is provided by collaborative supermarkets; co-op models on voluntary and self-managed basis in which the supermarkets trade their staff’s work for their products.
Every member of the cooperative contributes to the life of the shop by working two or three hours a month fulfilling different tasks such as cashier, warehouse-keeper, or others necessary to run the cooperative store.
The possibility to lower the prices comes from the fact that, given that the functioning of the supermarket is based on voluntary work, the costs for permanent staff become incredibly reduced.
All profits are reinvested toward further lowering the costs of food and there are no bonuses or dividends for the shareholders: all benefits go to the members. Besides, they try to favour a choice of biologically and locally grown food which is produced by ethically and fairly paid work.
The cooperative store works with an increase of 21% compared to 26-100% in a usual supermarket. Thus it is possible to offer a higher quality at a much lower price.
Examples of existing and successful collaborative supermarkets are The People Supermarket in London, La Louve in Paris and especially Park Slope in New York since 1973 and which now has 17,000 members who can offer discounts from 20 to 40% on the weekly shop, reflecting the great success of this initiative, which is slowly catching on, starting from the big cities, redefining the dynamics of the large-scale distribution