A Note About Equity Shares

An important note from our lawyer about your equity shareyou should read this carefully—and if you have any questions whatsoeverask them before joining the Co-Op!

You are about to purchase an equity share in the Bethlehem Food Cooperative.  An equity share may sound a lot like a share of stock that you purchase in a big company like General Electric, but the two shares are very different.  When you purchase an equity share, it means that you are helping to provide the money that is needed to open up a grocery store in a food desert that lacks access to wholesome and nourishing foods.  You might get a slight discount on the products that you purchase through the yearly patronage rebate, but you will never see investment returns like when you purchase a share of stock in General Electric where other people you don't know are actively working to grow the company to make you money.  There are some other important differences too!  If you ever decide not to be a member of the Co-op, you can request your equity share money back, but that money will never have increased in value, though it may have decreased.  Your equity share also cannot be traded or sold to anyone else—it belongs only to your household. There is no secondary market for these things, so give up on trying to trade it on the New York Stock Exchange right now!  Finally, you cannot use your equity share as collateral to secure another debt—so don’t go throwing your equity share on the table next time you’re in a high stakes game of poker in Vegas!

For all of these reasons, we do not believe that your equity share is a security.  Since we do not believe that your equity share is a security, it is not registered with the Federal Securities and Exchange Commission pursuant to Securities Act of 1933 or the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, nor is it registered with the Pennsylvania Securities Commission pursuant to the Pennsylvania Securities Act of 1972.  Last, but certainly not least, you should understand that if the Co-op goes bankrupt, you may lose the total value of your equity share.

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