On Sept.16 the Mountain Equipment Co-operative announced that it had entered into an agreement to sell its assets to an American company, Kingswood Capital Management.
If the deal goes through, Kingswood will operate the former member owned co-op as a private, hence for profit, company. MEC's board of directors made this decision without consulting their members, which did not please them. MEC was founded in Vancouver in 1971 and expanded across Canada to operate stores in 20 cities. It was formed to sell outdoor recreation gear and clothing to members who held a lifetime membership, which is technically a share.
At its peak it had 5.4 million members.
Some may consider Co-op's to be a form of Socialism, but nevertheless since they exist within capitalism they have to conform to the iron clad laws of capitalist economics. As such they had to compete with companies like Nike who were underselling them.
To stay in business, in 2019 MEC laid of 38 per cent of their workers, (1,500 people), and cut deliveries to once a week. A Co-op director once said to me, ''We don't make a profit, we make a surplus,'' like there's a difference.
Co-operatives are like reforms and nationalism and all other schemes to make life better within capitalism - worthy candidates for the Museum of Broken Dreams.