CORE-POS: The Cooperative Point of Sale System


#1

Due to some interest in discussing our humble project further, i’m starting a thread over here where we can go on at length about all thing CORE-POS. CORE (Cooperative Operational Retail Environment) is the latest evolution of IS4C (Integrated Systems 4 Co-op) an open-source POS software developed at the Wedge Co-op in Minneapolis, MN in the early 2000’s. CORE-POS is a highly customizable, fully modern, modular, plug-inable, skinable, API-accesible, scalable re-write of the original software. The project has been maintained continuously since its inception and is currently in use at roughly 20 co-ops throughout the US and CAN, and handling roughly $100M USD annually. We have support for a growing array of POS hardware including, but not limited to:

  • in-counter scannerscales
  • receipt printers, including check-franking
  • FULLY integrated and EMV-compliant payment card terminals
  • Deli scales

The co-op POS is of course also supported by The Tech Support Cooperative, a worker co-op of IT specialists (including myself).

For now I can just share a couple links to info if you are interested in learning more. Feel free to ask any questions about what our platform can do.

https://www.core-pos.com/
https://github.com/CORE-POS/IS4C


Hello from the Tech Support Cooperative
#2

Hey @joelbrock nice one for starting this, but perhaps we could make this a slightly broader thread about Tech for Food Co-ops? That way we can discuss CORE POS and other stuff too :slight_smile:

@chris could you maybe move/ copy the relevant posts from Worker Coop Weekend is 11-13 May and Hello from the Tech Support Cooperative threads here?

@joelbrock also, check out these recent #CoopsRetail slides from VME’s Steve Gill (.pdf), shared on this Facebook thread`by Richard Bickle - likely of interest :slight_smile:


#3

Great point. This could be a thread under a category dedicated to food
co-op tech.


#5

@jdaviescoates you are now a moderator so you should be able to split topics, click the spanner logo, select the posts you want to move and then where to move them to.


#6

This is awesome! I haven’t looked at the code yet in detail but the principle of co-ops working together on this is right up my street.

I posted in the Introductions area, but I am converting my company into a co-op at the moment. We provide retail software, probably similar to CORE-POS. I would love the idea where we could open source it and combine the efforts together, into a solution to help retail co-ops across the world. One example is self checkout; we just spent over £200,000 to integrate into NCR’s self checkouts, but now have all the hard work done so (in theory) any co-op could install a self checkout now. Another example is BP integration, we spent (jointly with some of our customers) over £300,000 integrating into BP, so now any retail society could open a BP site and accept nectar cards.

We have almost 1,000 stores and 3,000 lanes running our POS, and in negotiations to make that grow much bigger. But the principle of open source to me is perfectly aligned to my co-op principles. Richard Bickle, Director at Central England Co-op pointed out their business wouldn’t risk their core estate to open source without having a commercial contract with someone like VME, which is perfect sense and allows us to still have a co-op earning surplus whilst all working on the same open source software.

I’m super excited about what we’re going to achieve over the next few years in the co-op movement. As you see above I did a presentation to the Retail Co-op movement in the UK about this very subject. Exciting times!


#7

I’ve forked the repository and reviewing the code now. Not too many people know but I have worked with PHP extensively for the last 6 years, originally without a framework but then quickly started working with Symfony, and in the last 4 years Laravel - both with Doctrine and Eloquent.

I’m going to try and write up a document explaining about what options we have, in terms of eventually bringing these 2 apps together (and also maybe there are more? I heard there is an Israeli co-op writing POS software for their local market?)


#8

@SteveGill I just read your (entire) introduction :wink: Love the passion! I too harbor visions of a grand unified co-op technology platform.

This philosophy is one of the greatest value-adds with CORE-POS and The Tech Support Co-op. As our client co-ops request new features, reports, integrations, etc. we are able to not only develop those new tools for them rapidly but we are constantly then feeding client-side customizations back into the upstream master for release to ALL users of CORE-POS, not just the ones that pay us to support and develop it for them.

Puzzlingly, to me, there seems to be NO effort to move in this direction here in the states. The retail co-ops are largely running ECRS Catapult or SMS LOC. With the rest running a mish-mash of other things. The National Co+op Grocers (trade org. for a lot of US food co-ops) doesn’t offer ANY guidance to the co-ops here on technology. or if they do they recommend ECRS Catapult. I take issue with directing precious co-op resources to non-co-op, privately-held entities for whom the co-op sector makes up a tiny slice of their client base, so we aren’t a priority for them in the least. Especially when there’s a totally viable alternative that’s co-op through and through. :wave: :wave:

I’ll be interested to hear your frank and unfiltered feedback on the CORE-POS software after you’ve had a chance to look it over.


#9

Hi Joel, hopefully with my push to bring the UK co-ops together (which has built a lot of momentum) that will be the catalyst to carry out the same model in the States - and then from there into other countries.

I must say I love this forum for bringing like minded people together - thank you to whoever created it!

I like the idea of other co-ops helping us on this, like Outlandish as an example, but we need to come up with a business model that works for everyone. I can only imagine @harry’s bar bill and I guess he has a great relationship with his mortgage relationship manager at the bank, considering the price of beer in London :wink:

@joelbrock will you be at Open Co-op in London next month? If so, great we will discuss face to face - if not, maybe a video conference to have a chat?

p.s. my sister in law is from Portland, OR - I love that city!


#10

No, i will not be in London next month. But it sounds delightful! I’m totally open to a vid chat at any point now or in the future. You can PM me, or email at jbrock@techsupport.coop


#11

You can PM me, or email at jbrock@techsupport.coop

I’ll drop you an email. Looking forward to chatting!


#12

I’ve worked on deploying a POS system and doing some POS backend work for a major clothing retailer and currently work for a FTSE100 company working on payment system integration and have wild aspirations of eventually working with co-tech so this is very interesting to me. I’m curious about the capabilities of this system:

What payment systems do you support (cash, VISA and MasterCard I guess - any others?)? Any e-comm integration? Accountancy integration? What’s the largest retailer in terms of transaction numbers that this system currently supports? Are there any PCI compliance issues relevant to this system or is this handled by a third party?


#13

Currently we have the following payment card integrations:

  • Visa/MC/AmEx/etc. - EMV/Chip+Pin via DATACAP middleware, supported widely in US + CAN
  • SNAP/Foodstamps
  • Gift Cards
  • Stripe.com - proof of concept
  • Various plugins for local “scrip”, work-trade, credit exchanges, business2business rewards programs have been developed as well
  • and more…

On the backend there are integrations for:

  • WooCommerce - Wordpress ecommerce
  • MailChimp
  • AWS
  • Deli Scales
  • Price checker kiosks
  • and more…

Any accounting integration is handled as a custom job b/c there’s really no standard output format that every one uses.

I don’t have transaction counts handy, but i know we have one retailer doing ~$50M USD between 2 stores, a commisary kitchen and a warehouse. Another retailer doing ~$30M USD out of a single location. As well as several 1—3 lane stores doing anywhere between $250K and $4M annually.

PCI compliance is sort of a non-issue from the software side because of the DATACAP middleware solution which keeps the POS out-of-scope. The paycard terminals are end2end encrypted and are pretty walled off in terms of how we can interact with them. The POS and the paycardterm basically just hand each other JSON back and forth. No sensitive cardholder data is ever passed to the POS.


#14

Had a great chat with Joel tonight, many thanks again for your time Joel.

Exciting times ahead for co-operating amongst co-ops - hopefully we can start something that makes it common practice for co-ops of all shapes and sizes to trade with tech co-ops first before going outside of the movement :slight_smile:


#15

Thanks for your answers here. It sounds like a lot of good work has been done here. Is it used much in the UK at all?


#16

To my knowledge there are no UK stores using CORE-POS. But, by virtue of
it being open-source, we really have no idea who is using it or from
where. We’d debated a while ago about adding in some “phone home”
components to do usage-tracking, etc. but erred on the side of less-creepy
and did not.
A little while back there was a food co-op startup effort in Dublin that
was pursuing CORE-POS for their eventual store, but we haven’t heard much
out of the Dublin crew in a while. Their startup efforts may have stalled
out.