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Austin Cooperative Businesses Celebrate Co-op Month with Fair
Monday, October 20, 2014 6:20 AM

Each October, cooperative businesses celebrate Co-op Month. Recently, the Austin Cooperative Business Association partnered with its founding members and sponsors to present the Austin Co-op Fair, which showcases local cooperative businesses in honor of Co-Op Month.

The Cornerstone Credit Union League is a founding member of the ACBA, a joint endeavor between local cooperatives.

This year's theme, The Co-op Connection, promotes ways that cooperatives strengthen their communities. Cornerstone, Velocity Credit Union, and Capitol Credit Union were among the 15 featured cooperatives representing many segments of the economy, from grocery stores to construction services.

The fair included a political forum. Seven of the eight mayoral candidates on the Austin ballot attended. Each had five minutes to tell attendees about themselves and answer the question:  If elected, how would you support and develop the growth of cooperative businesses in Austin?

Two of the mayoral candidates are sitting council members who supported the ACBA's request for city support of cooperative businesses through changes to its economic policies. They also voted to allocate financial support to the ACBA in the 2015 budget. 

The ACBA has also been conducting a survey of members and patrons of local cooperative businesses. The survey, funded in part by a grant from the Cornerstone Credit Union Foundation, is gathering information about co-op customers' financial services providers and encouraging respondents to join a credit union. The survey will continue through the end of October. Look for the results here.

The NCBA aims to benefit and expand cooperative businesses in Central Texas. The ACBA is its first regional project. Micheal Beall, formerly the CEO of the Missouri Credit Union League, is the executive director or the NCBA, and Pat Sterner, former head of the National Credit Union Foundation, is the chief operating officer.