Blog posts of '2018' 'December'

Updates: 2018 Beginnings, 2019 Goals

Fellow Adventurers!

Welcome back, we hope you're doing well!  We really love it when you stop by.  Today we'll be giving a summary of where we currently are as an organization and where we will be headed in 2019.  We have a number of exciting goals we hope to meet which will strengthen the cooperative and position us to serve you guys better!

We've been quite busy in 2018, beginning with founding the cooperative this fall!  We've been busy bees working on launching a great website, creating understandable bylaws, identifying awesome manufacturers and products, and establishing relationships with several amazing companies and service providers.  We've sliced, diced, chopped, mixed, blended, hammered, wrenched, welded, and here we are!  We're fully functional and slinging orders, helping you and your furry friends find your adventures.

Believe us, we won't be slacking in 2019.  There's still so much to do!  Look at this to-do list!

Personnel Growth

We're committed to providing great service to our members and as we grow it'll be important for us to find and keep some awesome employees.  They're mythical creatures, like unicorns, fairies, talking mice, or sasquatch.  We want them, we want to feed them and water them and pet them and hug them and tell them we love them!  We want to treat them like human beings and tend to their growth and greater wellbeing, and we will.  We're creating a culture and workspace to be envied, life is too short for anything less.

Reduce Inventory Cost

We're currently working with a distributing company to bring you guys some great aftermarket parts.  This is good because we can make available a number of manufacturers and items that we otherwise wouldn't be able to if we had to put our eggs in one basket with a single manufacturer.  However, working with a distributor comes at the penalty of increased cost.  Increased cost directly impacts the dividend we're able to offer our members.  As we're able, we will be making direct connections to manufacturers in order to reduce inventory costs and expand product offerings.

Introduce Member Toolset

One of our goals is to merge the cooperative concept with 21st century technology.  We will be working on expanding our website (and eventually a mobile app) to enable interactive member participation in the governance of the cooperative!  We want to hear your voice and we want to create a platform where it will be heard.  Also, wherever possible, we want to eliminate paper mailing for digital substitutions because we love trees.

Establish Storefront / Warehouse

We're currently operating as transient vagabonds with no physical location.  While we considered maintaining this model through the use of third party logistics companies for warehousing/fulfillment and using coworking office spaces, we felt that this may result in higher overhead costs and reduced member satisfaction.  In 2019 we hope to lease a space in Lincoln, NE where you can come visit and show off your toys.  Pet friendly, of course!

Increased Social Media Presence

Social media is crazy cool.  We love Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, and Twitter.  We also love that it it can bring amazing communities together.  We have accounts set up, but our GM isn't the most savvy at social media.  It must be all those gray hairs!  Speculation aside, we want to hit these channels and be more engaged with you.  We want to revel in photos, videos, hashtags, and dank memes with you!

Holy cow, we have a lot to do.  We hope you're as excited as we are to see this cooperative grow and transform.  In any respect, we appreciate you.  Thanks for reading.  Have a good one!

Updates: Why a Cooperative?

Hey guys and gals!

When we began this journey we had to decide how we should organize as a company. Most commonly, a business would organize as a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), or a corporation. There are many factors to consider when looking at each type of organization - ownership, governance, taxation, and profits. For instance, in a sole proprietorship, one person owns the business, governs the business, has specific tax considerations, and is enriched when the business profits. A partnership is similar to a sole proprietorship, but several individuals organize as partners. A corporation, on the other hand, is owned by shareholders, is typically governed by a board or individuals with a majority of shares, has specific tax considerations, and shareholders are enriched relative to the number of shares held when the company profits. An LLC gives more leeway than a corporation, and in simplest terms can be considered a hybrid of a partnership and corporation.

Conceptually, a business is organized to offer products or services to consumers at margins sufficient to sustain itself and positively benefit ownership. In the above described organizations, we feel that there are inherent conflicts relating not only to ownership vs consumer, but also ownership vs employee. The described organizations have incentive to offer lower cost and lower quality products in order to maximize profit. They also have incentive to keep employee wages and benefits to minimums in order to maximize profit. This can lead to unhappy consumers and unhappy employees. In practice, it's necessary to find balance between these counteracting forces and many organizations do so to varying degrees.

We organized as a cooperative as we feel that this type of organization modifies the relationship between owner, consumer, and employee to a degree which aligns better with our core values. A cooperative passes the benefits of ownership, governance and profits to its members in a fair and democratic process. Membership is offered to consumers at a low price, and these membership fees crowdsource the equity the organization needs to invest in itself and grow. Members elect individuals to a cooperative board which governs the organization. Members also receive an annual dividend relative to the amount of business each member has done with the cooperative, less operating expenses. Finally, the relationship between the organization, member, and employee is mutually beneficial. The cooperative is able to offer better than status-quo wages and benefits to employees, employees have incentive to best serve members and the organization, and members receive a higher level of service and satisfaction than alternative organizations can provide.

We hope this explanation helps! It certainly isn't exhaustive but it should give a general idea of what we are and what we believe in.