Karma Co-Op may be forced to close by June
The Annex’s 40-year-old Karma Co-Op will likely close its doors this June unless it can procure at least 100 new members and $21,000 in additional monthly revenue. The member-owned and operated non-profit food shop, it seems, never quite recovered from expenses incurred during a renovation in 2008. Manager Talia McGuire told The Toronto Star that only about 60 per cent of the co-op’s 1,000 members are regular shoppers, and that group simply isn’t buying enough. It also can’t help that Fiesta Farms, which caters to the same organic locavore market (without membership fees or volunteering duties), is only a short walk away. In an email to residents, the co-op announced that it will begin closing on Mondays (it employs nine paid staff members), raising prices on bulk items and produce and offering a new month-long trial period to entice prospective members. [Reddit]
4 thoughts on “Karma Co-Op may be forced to close by June”
you are one of the lucky businesses that was not forced to change your business model in the last 40 years, and competition has forced you to do so now, welcome to competition, embrace the forced change
I’ve been a Karma member for almost 10 years and I love it.
Every time I step into a regular grocery store, I notice a difference and I
miss Karma. And I will do whatever I can to save it. Here’s why:
1. Atmosphere and People. Karma is a community of people who have a shared vision of a sustainable, fair and healthy food system. This is evident from the atmosphere – from the
eclectic music playing (chosen by staff members, not engineered to make you buy
more), the community notice board, the quirky signs giving you more information
about products, the availability of a washroom for members to use, and on and
on. It is also evident because people feel comfortable talking to each other
there – whether to ask how others prepare a particular vegetable, or to just
shoot the breeze about a local event. I can’t remember the last time I spoke to
someone I’d never met before at Loblaws or Qi but I do it all the time at
2. Learning/Making Connections. I’ve really enjoyed putting my two hours/month in at Karma (you can chose to either contribute work hours and get reduced prices or just pay the listed prices) because it has allowed me to get to know a little bit more about how a food store works, and to get to know other members, who I then later bump into in the store, which gets back to point #1.
3. Fair Prices. Karma tries not only to keep prices low for members, but pay fair prices to farmers and other producers. This does not mean that Karma’s prices are necessarily higher (they may seem higher because we list prices in kilos not pounds like most other places), but it’s important to note that good food cannot be gotten at rock bottom prices unless someone (e.g. the farmer or the farm workers) are getting screwed – which is what is typically happening when you buy cheap organics or whatnot at Wal-Mart, and, I
sometimes wonder, Herbs & Nutrition or Qi.
4. Democratic Principles. We are a coop with cooperative principles. This means we all pool our money and our resources to make it work. This has tremendous benefits. Because we all own the coop, and most of us help to run it, we all have a say and a part in how it is run. To give just one example, our product policy was created by members
and through a full membership ratification process. Other decisions are also
made democratically – through voting and other forms of member opinion collection.
There are so many other reasons to love karma but to keep this short, I will stop listing them here.
New members are always welcome, and anyone can come do a “trial shop” (without first becoming a member) any time!
This place is simply the best. Great variety, prices, and atmosphere. Will be depressing if it doesn’t stay alive.
with three kids, we were struggling to keep up with the prices at karma (the rowe farms frozen chicken breasts were $20 at karma – why go there when i can get from rowe just down the street for less). we had to bail unfortunately, even though we love the concept and want to be supporting local businesses and especially co-ops.
i went to fiesta farms several times recently after not having gone in for years, and quite a bit of their produce was mouldy – ie, with green dust visible on the fruit/vegetable, so i am not convinced that fiesta is the way i want to go either.
i am interested to join karma again and came across this article when i looked up “karma co-op worth it”. i still don’t have the answer and am not sure what i will do, but one thing’s for sure, i will not be going to loblaws.
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