What is a co-operative?
Unicorn Grocery is a worker's cooperative, which
means we are owned and run by our workforce.
As cooperative members, we are all company directors. We take
responsibility equally for the decisions that govern our business,
from long-term strategy, to budgets and recruitment, to procedures
that run the shop
from day to day. Strong lines of communication and regular meetings
connect each of us to all the diverse areas of the business.
Our Co-op is non-hierarchical, which means that there is no
top-down management system. All members are expected to self-manage,
as well as simultaneously managing each other, which relies on
a great deal of initiative, hard work, and trust!
From 3 members to 70, we have always (wherever possible) made
decisions through consensus. As you may imagine, this requires
enormous patience and respect! Consensus may not always seem like
the easiest or quickest method, but the advantages are well worth
it. We learn from one another all the time, and are able to make
strong, well-founded decisions upheld by a unified and active
membership. This kind of decision making is one of the things
that give every member a real sense of 'ownership' of the business;
unlike in most jobs we are certainly not divorced from the decisions
A diverse range of skills is vital in any cooperative. We know
that the insight and energy of a new recruit is as valuable as
the experience gained from long service. By offering a flat rate
of pay, we encourage an equal sense of ownership and worth in
We hope our example will inspire others to pursue a cooperative
way of working. We are always happy to give advice, answer questions,
or arrange visits for people to learn more about how we work.
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
You might have noticed our website address now ends in .coop. This is the only domain in the world that is reserved for co-ops & organizations guided by cooperative values and principles, as set out by the International Co-operative Alliance. For more information click here.
Unicorn Grocery is registered under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014 and is bound by the Worker Co-operative Rules laid out by Co-operatives UK. Co-ops are part of an international movement for commerce to give back to the community by upholding a social agenda. See www.uk.coop or ica.coop for more information.
The Rochdale co-operative is probably the most well-known of all the early co-operatives. While it was not the first cooperative business, it was the first to be successful over a long period
of time and with principles including honesty and community involvement it inspired the development of the co-operative movement.
During Co-ops Fortnight 2012 we visited some other co-ops, find out more here or check out the UK Co-operative Directory for a full list of co-operatives working in the UK.