Maybe a warehouse-type place or a store that you want to support or frequent often? Earlier when we first started Hears Hearing & Hearables we wanted to form a Coop. I have joined a few Cooperatives but never really knew a great deal about it. Like a neighborhood grocery store. Maybe because groceries are a commodity, and you can go anywhere to get the basic groceries like eggs, milk, and bread. Did you know that when you joined you were part owner? Yes, you got a check back and it covered your cost of membership and you also got a little discount on the groceries. Memberships are similar to Coops, except when you join, you are not part-owner and you do not get a vote.
Co-ops have been around in one form or another for centuries. The general idea is that the members of the co-op own, control, and use the products and /or services. The goal is to provide members and customers with the best possible product or service at the best price. Many who created a co-op did so with others who share common values; a desire to work toward a common goal to create a place where people are placed above profit. It is a business model that creates shared prosperity; allowing more people to participate in the economy.
While you may have seen a co-op grocery or your utility company, they do exist for healthcare. Yes, healthcare. Can you think of an area of the economy where people need to be placed above profit? However, the healthcare industry is about profit. Republican, Independent, or Democrat, most people believe our healthcare system is not working. Now, we are not equipped to take on the entire industry, although I have tried, maybe in our little corner of the world, we can make things better—for all of us.
The idea of the Coop is so interesting and we looked into starting Hears Hearing & Hearables to be a coop. We spoke with legal counsel and sadly, the concept we have for helping members with the shared support of hearing health care providers does not support the coop model. It is because the two-member types are not synonymous even though both want what is best for the consumer/patient.
In general then, Hears Hearing & Hearables will support the hearing health care community running as an LLC; membership for those who want to join to get the discounts, rewards, and profit at the end of the year.
Here is what we know and see so far in the marketplace.
We have learned a lot about membership-type programs as we study what is important to us, the professional, the employee, and of course the consumer. Here are a few of the benefits to joining the membership, of something you care about, your ears, and hearing.