Q. What is a food co-op and how is it different from a regular grocery store?

A: Co-ops take many forms, but all co-ops are democratic organizations that are owned and controlled by the members who use their services. Co-ops exist to serve the needs of their members. Karma Co-op is a non-profit, consumer owned, retail food store. At Karma, many members work in the store, help decide what products we stock, and manage the co-op through our Board of Directors.

We are the owners of Karma. Karma is our store. As member owners, we are not just customers – we are active members of our co-op and community. We all contribute to take care of the store and to ensure its success. This makes the atmosphere at Karma very different from a normal grocery store. Relax in the members’ room, chat with staff and fellow members, or join a committee or the Board to get more involved.

Q. How do I join Karma?

A: We recommend everyone try us out for a one month free trial. This gives you the opportunity to check out the store to make sure a membership makes sense for you. If you decide to join after your trial month, we have a few membership options to choose from. Learn about membership and how to join here.

Q. What is the difference between Flat-Fee and Percentage Memberships at Karma?

A: Percentage members pay a 10% surcharge above marked prices (i.e. $1.00 is added at checkout for a purchase of $10.00 before tax). This option makes the most sense for those who buy less than $250/month and who do not have the time to work 2 hours/month as a Working Member.

For members who do not have time to work but who spend more than $250/month, a Flat-Fee Membership makes the most sense. Instead of working or paying a 10% surcharge, Flat Fee members contribute a $25 flat fee every month.

Q. Am I able to bring my own containers for refill?

A: Absolutely. Yes! Please do! Reducing waste is important to us and is why we boast such a large package free section. Containers should be clean, dry and weighed before filling please!

Q. If I choose to make a member loan, where does it go?

A: Every Karma member has the option to pay a fully refundable (without interest) loan of $100. If you provide a loan, you receive a $5 discount on the annual membership fee (that’s a 5% interest rate!). Loans are re-invested back into Karma, and help the co-op maintain financial flexibility.

Q. Why do I have to pay membership fees?

A: Membership fees are what make you an owner of the store and what entitle you to the benefits of membership. In addition to paying cheaper prices on groceries, as a member you get a vote at the Annual General Meeting (AGM), you get to participate in store operations and governance, and get to actively shape the direction of your store. Membership fees are an important source of revenue for the co-op that go towards helping maintain the building, covering some administrative costs and holding the AGM and other events.

Q. How many members does Karma have?

A: Karma currently has an active community of approximately 600 members.

Q. What type of payment does Karma accept?

A: Karma accepts cash, debit and cheques (members only) as methods of payment. Karma does not accept credit cards at this time. A 25-cent charge applies to all cheque payments.

Q. I am a member but my partner isn’t. Can they shop under my member number?

A: No. Membership and it’s benefits are only available to members. Only you are able to shop under your member number. If your partner would like to shop at the co-op, they may do so as a Guest Shopper. We strongly encourage partners of the same household to become members themselves since they are directly benefiting from the services offered by the co-op.

Q. Does Karma have a product policy that guides what the store carries?

A: Yes! Karma has a product policy that guides purchasing. Some of the issues that inform purchasing include environmental, ethical, nutritional and economic considerations.

Q. What is different about Karma’s product line that is unique from other stores?

A: In addition to Karma’s product policy that acts as a guideline for purchasing, Karma has a unique array of products. From bulk maple syrup, honey and tamari to local pulses and preserves, we prioritize bulk items over packaged and are proud supporters of local suppliers. Not to mention, our produce section is stellar. We’re proud of our product selection and are sure you will be too!

Q. Can I park at Karma?

A: Karma has two parking spots available in front of the store. If these spots are taken, we ask that you please use street parking (typically 1 hour parking) and not park in the laneway or block the right of way for our neighbours. The paved area by the delivery doors is for loading and receiving only.

Q. I don’t see a product that I normally buy on Karma’s shelves. How can I go about purchasing this item through Karma?

A: You can place a special order! Special orders are great for items you want to order in quantity, have shipped regularly, or get that we don’t normally carry. Fill out a special order form and place it in the special order box and we will do our best to get that product in for you. You can also place your special orders online. Only members enjoy special order privileges. If you have suggestions for regularly stocked products, do not hesitate to talk to staff.

Please note, if you fill out a special order form, we consider the product bought, so please specify if you would like us to contact you prior to purchasing the product. We will call you to notify you once your special order has been delivered. Members will be expected to pay for any special orders not picked up if the item expires on the special orders shelf.