Community corporations

Community-owned corporations are not "cooperatives" per se, but they are community-owned for-profit enterprises. Shares in the corporation can be purchased by anyone, and individuals may own varying numbers of shares.

General information on the movement can be found at the Institute for Local Self Reliance's New Rules project, its retail policy initiative, and various articles published by NewRules. An ILSR sister site, Big Box Toolkit, contains additional information on how to start a community store.

  • Family Matters (Malta, MT) is a community-owned family clothing store. The store does not have a website, but contact information can be found here.
  • Saranac Lake, NY, is on its way to opening a community-owned department store. As of January, 2010, organizers had raised $417,300 toward a capital goal of $500,000. Shares are $100 each, with a maximum investment of $10,000 by any individual.
  • The Greenfield Mercantile is currently (2010) raising capital to open a community-owned department store.
  • Bonaparte, Iowa (pop. 458), lost its downtown general store – which had sold everything from groceries to clothing – and could not attract a business to replace it. In 1986, community members formed “Township Stores” to once again bring retail necessities to downtown. They raised $100,000 in capital by selling 50 shares at $2,000 each – at the time, enough to buy and renovate a downtown building. The first business was Township Grocery. The community corporation then opened a hardware store, in addition. And one of the founders of Township Stores later opened a restaurant, Bonaparte’s Retreat, around the corner from the grocery store. Township Stores was profiled in a 2008 article in the National Trust's Preservation Forum. The grocery continues in 2009, open seven days per week. It does not have a website, but can be reached at (319) 592-3555. Shortly after it opened, the project was highlighted in the lead article of the November 1990 issue of Main Street News, which is available in the archives at (click "Members Area").