Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. What is a co-op? How does it differ from a traditional grocery store?
A1. A cooperative is a business that is "run for the people, by the people." Instead of being privately owned or owned by distant stockholders, our Members invest in the store (which makes them Members-owners) and elect our Board of Directors. Ultimately, the Co-op exists because of and for our Members. To learn more about co-ops and the cooperative business model, please visit our What is a Co-op page.
Q2. Do I have to be a Member to shop at the Co-op?
A2. Everyone is welcome to shop at the Co-op, whether you are a Member or not, and all of our regular and sale prices are the same for everyone. If you are interested in becoming a Member ($15 equity investment per year until you reach $200 for a full share) and receiving the full benefits of membership, check out our Become a Member page.
Q3. How do I join?
A3. If you are interested in becoming a Member ($15 equity investment per year until you reach $200 for a full share), please visit our Become a Member page. By becoming a Member, you are investing in a business that supports community, puts people first, builds our local food system, and invests in our future. In addition to owning a share of the Co-op, you’ll also be able to take advantage of our Community Connections program, receive an annual Patronage Refund, have the opportunity to do Member Work in exchange for a discount, run and vote for the Board of Directors, become a featured Member Artist on our Art Wall, and take advantage of free reverse osmosis water.
Q4. When are you open?
A4. We are open 363 days per year and are closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Our Downtown hours of operation are 7am – 11pm and our South End hours are 7am - 9pm.
Q5. Where are you located?
Q6. Parking can be a challenge in your Downtown lot. Any tips?
A6. We hear you! Our parking lot can get pretty busy at times, especially during the work week around lunch time and after work. Our Facilities staff works hard to help direct traffic during these peak times, but here are some additional tips:
- If you aren’t picking up a lot of groceries and have the option to walk, bike, or bus to the Co-op, please do! We offer ample bike parking (and offer a 5% discount through Bicycle Benefits if you bike), and there is a bus stop located across the street on the corner of South Winooski and Bank Street.
- The parking garage across South Winooski on Bank Street offers free parking for the first 2 hours.
- There is some free parking on the streets around the Co-op, as well as a number of metered spots. The YMCA lot adjacent to our lot has meters that are free after 6pm, on Sundays, and on holidays.
- If it’s busy on the weekend, try parking next door at the HowardCenter. They have generously opened up their top lot for City Market customers starting Fridays at 6pm and all day Saturdays and Sundays.
- Please remember to drive slowly and carefully in our lot, looking out for pedestrians and other cars. Patience and kindness always make it a little easier to navigate!
Q7. I noticed you have a Bulk Department. I’ve never shopped in bulk before. How does it work?
A7. Shopping in the bulk department is a great strategy to save money, decrease waste, and eat healthy! Check out our Bulk Department page for a how-to guide and helpful tips.
Q8. Why do you sell conventional products?
A8. We want to offer our community the foods that they need and which fit their values. As part of our agreement with the City of Burlington, we are committed to offering at least 25% conventional products in the store. In fact, we offer more than that, at comparable prices to other area grocery stores. In additional to conventional products, we also sell a range of organic, local, fair trade, kosher, and non-GMO products. Looking for something specific? Let us know, and we’ll see if it’s something we can carry or special order for you!
Q9. Do you offer discounts?
A9. We offer a number of different discounts:
- Member Worker discounts: volunteer in the community for 2 hours per month to receive a 7% discount, or 4 hours per month for a 12% discount. Please visit our Member Work page for more details on how to participate in this program.
- Food For All discount: we offer a 10% discount to anyone (it is not necessary to be an equity-holding Member) eligible for 3SquaresVT (formally called Food Stamps), WIC, or Social Security Disability/Supplemental Income. For more information on this program and to find out how to participate, please contact our Member Services Department at email@example.com or 802-861-9707.
- Senior discount: we offer a 5% discount for anyone 60 years of age or better.
- Non-Profit discount: we offer a 15% discount to non-profits who are Members of the Co-op. For more information on this program and to find out how to apply, please contact our Member Services Department at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-861-9707.
- Bicycle Benefits discount: buy a Bicycle Benefits sticker for $5, put the sticker on your helmet and show it to the cashier when you check out, and receive a 5% discount! Learn more about Bicycle Benefits.
Q10. Do you offer grocery delivery?
A10. Yes, we do offer weekday grocery delivery. For more information about our delivery service, please visit our Delivery Service page.
Q11. Do you sell City Market gift cards?
A11. We do! You can purchase a gift card by calling Customer Service at 802-861-9701, or you can purchase a gift card online.
Q12. Do you offer cooking classes or wellness classes?
A12. We offer a wide variety of food education and wellness classes each month. You can find class listings on our Upcoming Classes & Events page. Most of our classes are $10 for Members and $25 for non-members.
Q13. Do you donate to local organizations or sponsor community events?
A13. City Market makes a variety of donations to local community non-profits for school functions, community fundraisers, and citywide events. If you would like to apply for a donation or sponsorship, please visit our Community Outreach page.
We also support local non-profits through our Rally for Change program at our registers. Customers have the opportunity to "round up" their orders at the register and we donate the change to 3 non-profits each month. Of the total donations each month, 50% is donated to a local non-profit working to strengthening the local food system or alleviating childhood hunger (we are not currently accepting applications for this partnership); 40% is donated to the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf each month, and 10% is donated to a local non-profit that fits with our Global Ends (but doesn't necessarily focus on the local food system or childhood hunger). With more than 4,000 transactions each day through our registers, we all have the opportunity to share what we think of as “small change” to rally for bigger community-wide change. For more information about this program, please visit our Rally for Change page.