What's a Co-op? Why Join?

What is a Co-op? 
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The Isla Vista Food Co-op is Santa Barbara County's only community-owned grocery store. The Co-op was founded over 40 years ago by students and Isla Vistans who wanted to ensure that the community would always have neighborhood access to high quality and affordable food, and that our local farmers and producers would have a dedicated store to sell to. The Co-op is open to the public and participates in many campus and community events to help share resources to make grocery shopping fun and affordable, and most importantly, to keep investing back into Isla Vista so that everyone can benefit from having a grocery store that everyone owns together. We've accepted Cal-Fresh (food stamps) since the day our doors opened in 1972.

When are owner benefits changing?

We our rolling out our new owner benefits program—We Own It Rewards—on Saturday, September 21, 2019.

Why are we changing our owner benefits?

The Isla Vista Food Co-op exists to serve our community. Giving back and supporting our neighbors is one of our top priorities. Last year, we saved our customers over $20,000 through coupons, discounts, and sales—but we want to give even more back! Under our new We Own It Rewards program, the average owner will save 50% more per year than they did under our old program.

Which benefits are being replaced?

We are replacing seasonal 10% off coupons with 1% back Co-op Points on every purchase and monthly emailed coupons. 1% back Co-op Points allow us to reward you every time you shop, instead of only twice a quarter. Monthly emailed coupons allow you access to even more discounts and special promotions. Again—the average owner will see a 50% increase in rewards with these new benefits.
We are also replacing owner-only sandwich punch cards with a 10% off everyday Lunch Combo for all customers. This allows us to offer affordable, healthy lunches to everyone in our community—not just owners—and removes the hassle of having to remember to bring your physical punch card to the store.

How do all the new benefits work?

1% back Co-op Points:

Every time you make a regular purchase, you will earn Co-op Points equal to 1% of your transaction. These points are automatically stored in your owner account, so make sure you swipe your owner card every time you shop! You can then redeem your accrued points on any regular transaction. For example, if you’ve earned 500 Co-op Points, you may redeem them for $5.00 off any regular transaction at the Co-op.

Monthly emailed coupons: 

If you provide us with your email address and opt-in to email marketing, you will gain access to exclusive emailed coupons. These coupons are hassle-free—meaning the discount or promotion will be automatically applied to your owner account. You won’t need to print your email to redeem your coupon—just swipe your owner card next time you shop and your coupon will be automatically applied!

Buy 9 Get 1 Free digital coffee punch card: 

These new digital punch cards are automatically associated with your owner account. This means you don’t need to remember to bring in a paper punch card—every time you buy a coffee bar item when your owner account is associated, the system will automatically record a punch for you.

Terms and limitations of We Own It Rewards Program:

No rewards may be exchanged for cash or gift card. All rewards are non-transferable. Volume purchases, catering orders, alcoholic beverages, gift cards, deposits, CRV, taxes, fees, and equity payments are excluded from reward accruals and redemptions. You must have a minimum of 100 Co-op Points in order to redeem them on a purchase. Co-op Points expire after one year. Monthly emailed coupons are valid only for the amount of time specified in the email. Rewards are subject to additional restrictions and specifications at any time, at the sole discretion of the Isla Vista Food Co-op.

I still haven’t used my 10% off coupon for summer! Do I need to worry about that?

No worries! Use your summer Member Appreciation 10% off coupons as usual, as these would expire at the end of summer even if we were not changing benefits. Beginning September 21st, instead of adding new Fall 10% off coupons to owner accounts, you will instead have access to 1% back Co-op Points. This means you don’t have to worry about using your 10% off coupons more quickly than you would have otherwise.

What about my sandwich punch card?

We will be redeeming partial credit for sandwich punch cards, equivalent to 10% off the number of punches you have. For example, if you have 5 punches, we will give you 50% off a sandwich. This allows us to reward you for your previous punches while we’re transitioning to our new all-customer, 10% off everyday Lunch Combo.

Do I have to be an owner to get these benefits?

While everyone is welcome to shop and save money with our Co+op Deals and In-store Sales, the We Own It Rewards program is only for active owners who are up-to-date on their equity payments. Rewards will be applied to each active account. If you have a secondary shopper on your account, know that they will have access to your account’s coupons and points when they use your account’s owner card. If your secondary shopper would like access to their own rewards, they must create a new account under their own name.

These rewards sound great—how do I sign up?

Just come in and talk to a cashier! Equity payments are $150 to become an owner of the co-op—you may pay this in installments of $30 a year until you reach the full amount. You will have access to We Own It Rewards every year you have made an active equity payment, and then all years afterwards as long as your equity is paid in full.