We are currently hiring for a Co-owner!
Information for Applicants
Thank you for your interest in applying for the co-owner position at Other Avenues. We opened in 1974 as a small neighborhood store, run and supported by community members dedicated to providing an alternative to corporate grocery stores. We are now a collectively run, worker-owned and managed natural foods cooperative. Throughout our forty-seven-year history, we have remained committed to organics, healthy food, environmental sustainability, worker-ownership, and true community involvement.
We are looking for someone interested in organic foods, consensus-based decision-making, egalitarian workplaces, and the chance to be involved in a thriving, socially responsible neighborhood business.
This is an ownership position, not just a job. Although most people’s work experience is as an employee, the co-owner position takes on the weight and responsibility of managing a thriving business. This requires more responsibility, but offers more opportunity too.
Please read on to learn more about what it means to become a part of our unique business model.
Your starting core schedule will include:
- A minimum of 12 hours* of shift work throughout the week. These shifts involve a lot of multitasking, but generally include:
- Being on your feet for long hours
- Working in cold environments
- Repetitive lifting of 25-50 lbs
- Providing excellent customer service
- Restocking, cleaning, and other common retail activities
- Department work that is scheduled as needed by delivery days and department buyers. Can include restocking, receiving deliveries, and ordering.
- Two weekly maintenance tasks (mopping, cleaning the bathroom, etc)
- Attending a bi-monthly board meeting
*All worker-owners are required to work at least 12 hours of shift work per week. However, as an applicants, you are generally scheduled for 20+ shift hours per week to compensate for naturally having less department and admin work to start. As you grow into the ownership role, most co-owners work with Personnel to give up or take on shifts as needed to maintain a sustainable work schedule.
Additional responsibilities you will grow into:
- Buying for one of our departments, usually as part of a team of buyers. All co-owners must take on buying work.
- Executing store projects throughout the year with a committee. Current active committees include Finance, Maintenance, Promo, Hiring, DEI, IT, etc.
- Administrative and back-end work. Everyone takes on different work according to their skillset and store needs, but this can include:
- Personnel: scheduling, hiring, conflict resolution, etc
- Bookkeeping: accounts payable, filing taxes, and more
- Evaluating fellow worker-owners through direct communication
- Anything else you can imagine it takes to run a small business (like writing this job description!)
Required skills and experience**
- Experience working in retail and providing excellent customer service
- Ability to keep yourself on task throughout the day (we have no bosses here)
- Interest and/or experience with business ownership. This position is on a path of collective ownership of our business.
- Experience working in a cooperative environment that requires collaboration
- Experience with work that is physically demanding
- A self-starter who thrives on problem-solving. You should be someone who can identify problems and then work with others to find solutions.
- A cooperative mindset with customers and coworkers alike
- Interest in the natural foods and products that we sell
- Comfortable with giving and receiving feedback on a daily basis
**Worried you may not meet all the requirements? We encourage you to apply anyway! We are willing to train the right person.
- Prior experience working in a cooperative business or other egalitarian structure
- Prior experience in grocery stores, farmers markets, restaurants, or other fast-paced food businesses
- Being willing to ask questions and advocate for yourself as you grow into the role
- A familiarity with ordering and keeping stock of inventory
- A project-oriented mindset. As you grow into an owner, you will be expected to juggle projects while taking care of your core department and shift responsibilities
- Experience with small business management and/or collective decision making
The Six-Month Application Period
You will be eligible for the ownership position after a probationary period of 6 months, during which the applicant and Other Avenues decide on their mutual fit. During that period, you are evaluated three times—at 6 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months. Although these evaluations are primarily a chance for the group to give you feedback, they also serve as an important check-in to make sure you are feeling supported in the role.
You will be expected to function like a worker-owner during the first six months, including attending bi-monthly board meetings and directly communicating your needs as a new applicant. A current co-owner will serve as your “buddy,” facilitating evaluations, supporting your growth, and orienting you to the flow of our unique work environment. We are looking for someone comfortable with direct communication, who understands how to advocate for themselves while supporting the needs of the business.
After being voted in as a worker-owner, a small buy-in of $300 is taken out of your paycheck in $25 increments (once per month). The buy-in is refunded to you upon leaving the business.
A Week in the Life of a Co-owner
All co-owners must maintain a core schedule of at least 30 hours, 12 hours of which are shift work. Starting out you will have a five-day-per-week schedule, usually working at least one weekend day.
Most co-owners land on a balance of 10-15 hours of department work, 12-20 hours of department work, and 1-3 hours of admin/committee work per week. That said, everyone’s schedule is different and some take on more shifts, projects, and/or administrative work than others.
Because we allow generous vacation, all co-owners are required to fill shifts in excess of their scheduled hours. We strive to equally share this extra work among the group. We post a monthly holes calendar, and everyone is expected to volunteer for holes which work for them and their schedule.
Since we’re a co-op, we also expect all worker-owners to collaboratively run the business. Over time you’ll pick up more collective duties that fit your skills and interests, such as sitting in on monthly committee meetings, making governance decisions in board meetings, and helping with other projects as they come up. We value collective wisdom and collective decision-making, and encourage members to problem-solve together.
We encourage a healthy work-life balance that values time for family, friends, and outside fulfillments. Many co-owners are artists, writers, or other creative folks who have thriving hobbies or side jobs outside of the store.
Pay, Hours, & Benefits
The co-owner position is full time (at least 30 hours per week), averaging 30-40 hours a week.
Other Avenues is a worker-first business where we advocate for ourselves with a generous suite of benefits. Co-owners working 30+ hours per week enjoy the following:
A Living Wage
- Starting Wage of $19.50/hr
- Wage Increases to $21.00/hr upon Successful 6-month Evaluation
- Yearly Raises
- Regular Cost of Living Adjustments
- Quarterly Sales Bonuses
- Year-end Patronage that starts accruing after being voted in as a worker-owner. All co-owners share a portion of the surplus earnings at the end of the year, although all compensation depends on the income generated by the business.
Health Care & Wellness Benefits
- 100% Paid Medical Insurance (after 60 days)
- 100% Paid Dental and Vision Plans (after 60 days)
- Renter’s Insurance
- Life Insurance
- Long-Term Disability Insurance
- $100 Yearly Supplemental Wellness Benefits
- $150 Yearly Work Shoe Reimbursement
- SIMPLE IRA retirement program, upon being voted in as a worker-owner
- Flexible Hours
- 6 Weeks Vacation Each Year
- Bereavement Leave
- Paid Breaks
- 25% Discount on All Departments
- Free Produce, Dairy, Bread, & Miscellaneous Culls
Career Growth & Education
The biggest benefit of working here is the chance to grow as a co-owner of a 100% worker-owned business. As a buyer, you will get a chance to develop your passion for natural foods and products. At first you will be assigned a department, but over time department roles open up naturally. It might take time, but everyone lands up in their preferred department(s) eventually.
As an owner, you will also learn how to run and operate a business collectively–which has its own set of challenges and rewards. As you grow into the role, we encourage you to seek out opportunities to improve the store, your department, and even administrative and financial policy.
We regularly attend co-op conferences, food industry events, and tastings. And it’s not all about food knowledge either. In the past, we have paid co-owners to take classes and earn certifications in wellness, accounting, and other important skills that will benefit the store.
Applications are always available in person at Other Avenues, 3930 Judah Street @44th Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94122. You are also welcome to download and print an application here, although we ask that you submit it in person during open hours (currently 9am to 8pm every day). Please attach a resume to your application.
Please do not telephone or e-mail to ask about the status of your application— when positions become available, the hiring committee carefully reviews applications and contacts interested applicants directly. Thank you!
Other Avenues is an Equal Opportunity Employer. BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color), women, gender non-conforming people, and LGBTQAI++ people are strongly encouraged to apply.