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September 5, 2019
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Madrid debuts its first co-op supermarket
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It will be the first in the region and one of the first in Spain, where customers will also be partners in a business that seeks to offer a "sustainable" alternative from an environmental and economic point of view to traditional supermarkets.
 
"There is excessive food consumption in the West that has led to unsustainable models from an environmental, social and economic point of view," laments José Antonio Villarreal, one of the founders of the project.
 
Therefore, and convinced that it is possible to favor "responsible" consumption, it has committed to food groups based on organic and local products for years where, according to it, "trust and participation are the main values".




 
Four years ago alongside a friend he founded a cooperative in the Malasaña neighborhood of Madrid composed of local producers and consumers under the name of 2decológico.
 
In October 2016, the co-op made the leap to a larger store located in the same neighborhood and added two more business models to the weekly distribution of products: a store with ecological local products and training in responsible consumption.
 
"The price of land in the center of Madrid is very expensive and the type of food offered (near, local and with less environmental impact) is produced less and is more expensive. This means that only this category of food can be accessed by people with a certain purchasing power”, he says.
 
With the idea of ​​reaching more people, José Antonio and his partner began to think about creating a cooperative supermarket in the style of those that have existed for years in countries such as France or the United States, where only members can purchase but are also the business owners.
 
For this, they contacted one of these supermarkets located in Paris through the Mares project of the European Union, which supports urban transformation through social and solidarity economy initiatives.
 
"We thought Madrid could benefit from such a supermarket," he says.
 
The project that is the first cooperative supermarket in Madrid is driven by 2decológico, but it has the collaboration of other consumer groups located in Lavapiés and Getafe. In total, there are more than 20 people grouped in a cooperative called La Osa that aspires to find a place in a market "dominated by big brands" offering "good products at good prices."
 
"We want to give visibility to an alternative to a conventional supermarket model that is environmentally and socially sustainable," says José Antonio.
 
Currently, the La Osa cooperative is working on the business model of this cooperative supermarket that, in addition, could be the first to open its doors in Spain, as there are many others in projected for regions like Catalonia and Zaragoza.
 
The La Osa cooperative is looking for a place in the center of the capital of around one thousand square meters and hopes to have the support of the Madrid City Council and the Community, as well as the financing of private investors.
 
At the moment, it has already received emails from 800 people interested in being partners of a project that has been announced in forums such as BioCultura, the organic fair project and responsible consumption that took place last November in Ifema.
 
The supermarket plans to open from seven in the morning to nine at night and stock up on organic and national products, in addition to fair trade that on average may be between 20 and 40% more economical thanks to this cooperative model.
 
The members will have to pay a fee, as well as have to contribute part of their time (approximately three hours per month) to collaborate with the supermarket staff in some tasks, such as the unloading of merchandise, cleaning or charging for products.

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