What does it take to join Empowery?

November 30, 2018

The basic overview of Empowery cooperative membership as well as an overview of how the Empowery cash back system works.

Empowery Cooperative Overview

The purpose of this overview is to give you context about what the Empowery Cooperative is and to make it easier for you to review our contracts so that you have an overview of the cooperative and how it works. This does not replace the reading of our agreements and bylaws.

The concept of a co-op is relatively simple, in our case it is a group of e-commerce businesses who are combining their efforts to buy better products and services and to share knowledge and experience to help everyone run better businesses. In the United States, there are over 40,000 different cooperatives. Almost every business type has at least one cooperative operating within its segment.

The management of the co-op is responsible for listening to its members and providing its members with services and products that will help them improve their business and profitability. Empowery has hired Duvall Coop Management, LLC. to be responsible for all day to day management and the finances of the cooperative.

It is the responsibility of the members to share their thoughts and needs and to support the efforts of the co-op by buying through the approved vendors whenever reasonably possible. In cooperatives, the members who work together are incredibly successful by leveraging their buying strength of the cooperative to make their own deals tend in time to not provide true value to its membership.

It is the expectation by the cooperative that its members will make their best efforts to support the suppliers of the cooperative when appropriate and to share with management competitive information to help make the cooperative stronger.

Not every type of supplier will be appropriate for every member. Certainly, members are not expected to support suppliers that provide services that the member does not need. It is the expectation that members will make their best efforts to responsibly pay attention to communication from the cooperative and to participate in one annual meeting.

Each member of the cooperative will have one vote regardless of the size of the cooperative member. Profits, however, are shared based on the number of dollars given the cash back (aka Rebate) each member earns. 

So, if one member earns $10,000 in gross cash back amount and another member earns $100,000 in gross cash back amount, the second member will receive 10 times the net cash back vs. the first member. Simply put, you earn cash back based on your individual support of suppliers.

To become a member you must apply, there are standards on which the board uses to determine who will be granted membership. The board has leeway, to make exceptions when it views it to be appropriate. When you join the cooperative as a SILVER member you are required to buy one share of stock for $1000. 

That share of stock will not change in value and you cannot sell/transfer that share of stock for more for less than $1000 and it would require the approval of the board for you to sell/transfer that share of stock, as the board will want to ensure that the buyer meets the requirements of membership. 

A company who is not ready to buy a share of stock can join the cooperative minimum can also join, but not as equity member, but instead will join as a Bronze Member, but not be eligible to receive cash back.

In addition to buying one share of stock there is an application/on-boarding fee that is currently $1,000, the application fee can increase over time. The value of the application fee is to cover the cost of reviewing the application and the cost of on-boarding new members into the cooperative. 

Any member can provide appropriate notice and leave the cooperative within 30 days and receive back from the cooperative the $1000 they paid for their stock. This makes the risk of joining the cooperative very low. 

Management however requests, the companies joining the cooperative joint with the intent of being successful members and supportive of the cooperative.

If you have questions about any of the agreements, please feel free to CONTACT US.

At your service!

The Empowery Team

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