Ecology and Social issues: the 2 branches of La Louve, a Parisian cooperative supermarket

La Louve is a cooperative and participative supermarket which has been able to reproduce in Paris the method of the New York Park Slope Food Coop born in 1973. If you want to know more about this supermarket in Brooklyn you can watch this video.

The founders of La Louve are 2 American friends Tom Boothe and Brian Horihan. It was in 2009 while living in Paris that they discovered the concept of cooperative and participatory markets and in particular the Park Slope Food Coop. After many analyzes on the reasons for the success of this type of store but also the failures of certain attempts, Tom and Brian decided in 2011 to found a group of purchases and the association Les Amis de La Louve. In 2014, everything accelerated: a commercial space of 1,400 m2 was found, the statutes of the cooperative were filed and 530 cooperators joined the adventure.  In 2016, La Louve opened its doors for a test phase with more than 3,000 cooperators. Now La Louve has 10 employees who orchestrate the participation of the 5,000 cooperators.

But how does it work?

Like in any cooperative and participatory supermarket, you must be a member to shop at La Louve. You are more than just clients at La Louve; you are also partners. In other words, you share ownership of the business. You take part in its operation, governance, and funding. Additionally, if you shop there, you rotate holding the cash register, receiving deliveries, stocking the shelves, cleaning the store, and participating in general meetings where everyone gets one vote regardless of how many ownership they own.

The project is based on cooperation. The social aspect is also important in the supermarket. That’s why they try to find a balance between social and ecological. To do this, La Louve has established a list of six criteria (sometimes contradictory, it admits) for the choice of products: environmental impact, proximity, fairness, taste, price, responsibility to meet the culinary needs of the neighborhood. La Louve therefore offers a majority of organic, artisanal or local products, but also products found in traditional supermarkets, or exotic products. Thus members can choose where to spend to consume according to their tastes or their means.

La Louve is waiting for you at 116, rue des Poissonniers 75018 Paris from Tuesday to Sunday.

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