Moonflower Market in Moab is going back to its roots as a community-owned cooperative natural food store. The transition, which began in 2011, was finally completed Aug. 12, and the store is holding a series of events throughout the week to help celebrate the change.
According to Cathy Bonde, a Moonflower board member, the decision to return the store to its co-op roots was made to help secure the organization’s future. Though Moonflower operated as a co-op during the 1980s and 90s, it was never a federally recognized cooperative, Bonde said.
“It was a local co-operative before,” she said. “This time it’s actually formed as a federally recognized co-operative.”
For the last several years, Moonflower Market has been run as a state-recognized nonprofit. However, the board chose not to pursue the option of becoming a tax-exempt nonprofit organization, because board members felt that it would give Moonflower an unfair advantage over other food stores. Instead, the decision was made to start the transition to a community-owned cooperative.
Bonde said most of the market’s customers will not see a lot of changes.
“It was important to us that we didn’t change drastically on a day-to-day level,” Bonde said, adding that the board wanted to make sure everyone still felt welcome to shop at the store.
Ultimately, Bonde said, the board wanted people within the community to be able to have more of a say in how the store was run, which prompted the decision to revert back to a co-op status.
“We’ve been planning for quite some time to become a co-op,” she said. “It wasn’t something that happened over night. We’re just finally at the finish line, and we’re really excited.”
Those who are interested in becoming members of the co-op will need to fill out a simple membership form and pay a fee of $100 for a lifetime membership. Bonde said the co-op will communicate with members through emails, mailings and meetings.
“We’re required to have an annual members meeting,” she said. During that meeting, members will be able to vote on certain issues concerning the co-op’s operation.
Members will also receive certain perks that won’t be available to the general public, Bonde said.
“There will be special discount days and opportunities to members,” she said. Those could be in the form of coupons sent out via email, or certain days where members can go into the store to receive discounts on their purchases.
To celebrate the change, the market has been holding a series of progressive meals this week.
“It’s a progressive dining experience,” Bonde said.
Employees of the market kicked off the week with a free breakfast. Throughout the week, the meals will progress throughout the day, with dessert being served at the market on Saturday, Aug. 17, to cap the week’s festivities.
“Everybody is welcome to come by the store,” Bonde said. Details about the meals and other events are posted in Moonflower Market, and on the store’s Facebook page.
“We’re really excited that we’ve reached this point,” Bonde said.