Worker co-operatives are like any other business. However, unlike conventional businesses its Members (workers) contribute equitably to and democratically control, the finances and everyday decisions of their co-operative. Members decide how to use surpluses (profits), ensuring their worker co-operative provides the pay and other benefits that members need and want, managing the business to provide them and protect its future.
Over the past 50 years Infinity Foods Cooperative Ltd has had some outstanding dedicated members, In this series, we will speak to some of our longest-standing members to ask why they have stuck around and about some of their memories.
Dex Bailey: Long-Standing Coop Member
Dex joined Infinity Foods in the early 00s. His passion and knowledge of the cooperative movement has driven the our coop to what it is today. One of Dex’s great ideas was our extensive gluten-free section which now spans the entire shop (just look out for the yellow shelves in each department). Dex has always ensured Infinity Foods Shop has been ahead of the curve. For many years Dex lead on our marketing ventures, getting Infinity Foods mentioned in many leading and local newspapers and strengthening our connections to the local LGBTQ community. Today Dex is found on the fresh fruit and vegetables section, championing organic.
What year did you start working here?
Back in 2001
I would love to know why you started working at Infinity?
I had been involved with the co-operative movement for many years. As a child I attended the co-operative pathfinders club, which is a co-operative movement youth club. As a teenager I lived in a housing Co-operative, this lead me to being a co-founder of a housing co-operative in Brighton in the 90s.
Tell me about your favourite Infinity memory/moment ?
I think the expansion of the shop is my favourite memory. Prior to this the shop was small and crowded with very little natural light. The expansion really improved the atmosphere of the shop and created so much more space for customers and staff.
What do you love about being in a workers cooperative?
The democracy. So many businesses and enterprises are governed without any form of democracy. When nations are governed undemocratically we see it as abhorrent and unjust. Yet it seems acceptable in business. I am proud to be part of an organisation that is democratic.
What has been the pull that makes you stay?
Being part of something that has strong ethics and just operational practices. An active demonstration that things can be done fairly with decency.
What do you love about Infinity most?
As a worker co-operative, the owners of the business are the people serving the customers. All of us together. We have no agenda from absent managers, owners, shareholders or investors. This in turn allows our customer base to have a close connection to the owners of the business and enables us to maintain dialogue with the customers about their expectations of us as a business.
What do you look forward to for Infinity in the future 50 years?
Maintaining that special relationship with our customer base. Responding and reflecting to the expectation of our customers and continuing to provide ethically sourced produce to our community.