DUCK SOUP COOP
A DIFFERENT KIND OF MARKET
Incorporated in 1974 as a not-for-profit entity, Duck Soup was originally a member only, pre-order buying club. As the Coop grew, we were able to operate as a storefront outlet where purchases could be made from stock inventory. In 1990, the membership voted to open the store to the public as well as members.
What does the Coop offer?
Duck Soup sells a wide variety of products including but not limited to:
Bulk Seeds, grains, flours, legumes, pastas, teas, coffees, nuts and snacks (many organic)
Organic fresh fruit and vegetables
Natural and organic grocery items
Frozen food from entrees to desserts
Organic and natural dairy products and cheeses
Alternatives for food allergies and other special diets
Alternatives for vegetarian and vegan diets
Fairly traded coffee, tea, chocolate and other products
Herbs and spices
Vitamins and supplements
Natural and organic cruelty free body care products
Natural pet food
Ecologically safe cleaning products
Recycled paper products
Housewares, gifts and greeting cards
In addition to the many items on the shelves, shoppers may special order items from a variety of suppliers.
What Makes Duck Soup Different?
In addition to making natural foods available to the DeKalb Community, Duck Soup is a democratically managed business, where all members have the opportunity to take an active role in selecting product lines, setting pricing structures, and contributing to operational decisions. Duck Soup was designed to operate in the interest of consumers. There is no stock or private financial interest in the business. All of our current inventory, equipment and assets have been provided by member work contributions, equity and fee contributions, and surplus income generated from sales.
Duck Soup was initially organized in the Fall of 1974 by the collective staff of Juicy John Pink’s, a whole foods restaurant in DeKalb. Prior to this time attempts to organize a member operated whole foods outlet in town had failed, but with the restaurant as a focus point, the space available, and the combined energy of the restaurant staff and individuals who had been involved in previous attempts, Duck Soup became a viable cooperative organization. Since that time Duck Soup has undergone a number of organizational changes: from a “members only” pre-order buying organization to a fully stocked retail outlet open to the public seven days per week; from an organization which required a work commitment from every member household to an organization that offers a tiered membership structure; from an organization that made decisions based on discussion and consensus to an organization that makes decisions based on majority vote. What hasn’t changed over time is the Coop’s mission and its general adherence to the Cooperative Principles. These principles, originally conceived in 1844 by the Rochdale Weaver’s Guild in England (recognized as the first cooperative), were most recently revised by the International Cooperative Alliance in 1995.
The Cooperative Principles:
—Open, Voluntary Membership: Membership is available to all persons who can make use of the organization’s services and are willing to accept the responsibility of membership
—One Membership, One Vote: The organization is democratic with affairs being administered by persons elected or appointed by the membership.
—Limited Return on Investment: Return on the membership’s investment should be used primarily for the development of the business, share capital should only receive a limited rate of return
—Not For Profit Operation: Economic results arising out of the operations of the organization belong to the members of the organization and should be distributed/utilized in such a manner as to prevent one member gaining at the expense of others.
—Continuing Education: The organization should be committed to and make provision for the education of its members, employees and the general public in the principles of cooperation.
—Cooperation Among Cooperatives: The organization should actively cooperate with other cooperatives at local, national and international levels.
—Concern for the Community: While focusing on member needs the organization should work for the sustainable development of the community through policies accepted by the membership.
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