By Mike Benzin, East Aurora Cooperative Market Board Member and Treasurer

I received an offer in the mail today. A major financial institution wanted me to open a savings account with them. Their hook? That their 0.80% interest rate was many times higher than the national average. They seemed quite proud of what they would do for me.

Really. Bragging about an interest rate of less than 1%!

Okay, so my money would be insured. But that’s it. Never mind that, with an annual inflation rate of about 1.5%, I’d actually lose money. And never mind that the institution would give my dollars to others to use through its credit card or other financial programs. And that they’d see returns averaging as much as 13%. That’s a nice profit for them, isn’t it?

And what would my money be doing? Buying sneakers, meals at restaurants, concert tickets or groceries? There’s nothing wrong with these things, but don’t I want my money to do more? To mean more? Shouldn’t my dollars reflect the values I hold near and dear?

Enter the East Aurora Cooperative Market. As a member I have the right to put my dollars to use right here in my community. To help the Co-op build something that will bring returns at many levels to my family, my friends, and my neighbors.

The Co-op’s capital campaign is raising money right now to build out our store. These dollars are critically important. They will bring a broad selection of locally-sourced goods to our grocery carts. They will build a new hub for our community where good health and nutrition contribute to our quality of life. It will be a place where we – you and me – come first.

That’s something I can be proud of. That’s something I want to be a part of.

Oh, and can I tell you that my dollars could come back to me even stronger than they went in? If I buy preferred shares I could earn an annual dividend of 2%. If I make a four year loan I could earn an interest rate of 1.5% – – even higher if I choose a longer term. As much as 4.5% for a ten-year loan. Take that, inflation!

Sure there’s a risk – my money isn’t guaranteed and I might lose it all. But I know there are many bright people doing their best to make sure that doesn’t happen. And they are receiving sage counsel from advisors who have opened and supported hundreds of successful co-ops all over the U.S.

So that offer from that major financial institution? It’s in the recycling bin. My money is on the Co-op. My money is on our community. My money is on our farmers, our producers, and our quality of life.

But my money can’t do it alone. It needs you. It needs your investment alongside of it. Together we can do some great things. Together we can build a market to be proud of. 

So join me. Step up. Let’s make this happen. Today.  Call Kathy Pomerhn at 698-9962 and we’ll get it done. And I’ll see you at the Co-op!