Hello from the Tech Support Cooperative

Hello all!

I am here on the recommendation of @chris from WebArch.

I’m a founding member and co-owner of the Tech Support Cooperative. We are a worker co-op based in the US + Canada. We specialize in providing installation and support services to food co-ops running the CORE-POS open-source POS system in their stores. In addition we also provide networking and desktop support, web development, and web design services for a few clients.

Personally, I’m based in Portland, OR and have been active with both consumer and worker co-ops here for almost 15 years. In my other consulting work (outside of the Tech Support Co-op) I am an IT Consultant and Strategist for primarily co-ops and co-op support organizations. So yeah. I’m pretty dang cooperative ;-D

Pleased to be here and hope i can contribute meaningfully to your discussions on this fine web forum you have.



Hi Joel, and welcome. I’m pretty sure I remember your name from a project - which didn’t go ahead in the end as far as I’m aware - to implement the POS system at the Dublin Food Cooperative. Although it wasn’t called CORE-POS then (I can’t recall the former name).
Anyway, welcome!

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Ah yes! I was in touch with the Dublin Food Co-op folks way back when. The software project you may have heard of would have been IS4C (Integrated Systems 4 Co-ops). CORE-POS is essentially the same thing, just re-written from the ground up to employ modern web methodologies.

And thanks for the welcome!


Hey Joel, I’m expecting to get over to Portland some time in late July/early August, would be great to meet up, here’s what i’m up to:

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Hi @joelbrock, welcome :slight_smile:

Is CORE-POS usable in the UK? We have pound signs at the start of numbers, not the end, eg £1.50 and VAT at 20%.

Also, do you know what other open source software the North American food co-ops are using for things other than point of sale? Some in the UK are looking at what HR software to use.

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Well, having never done a CORE-POS installation in the UK i’m not familiar with ALL the intricacies, but in theory, I don’t see why CORE-POS couldn’t be usable in the UK.

We use your standard PHP internationalization, so updating strings and symbols would be a breeze.

The scannerscale would have to be metric…

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there is quite a large network of community shops in the UK (see here for a map of 355 of them https://www.plunkett.co.uk/community-shops ) who I imagine might well be interested in using CORE-POS if it was adapted to the UK market… From memory I think a discounted POS package is/ was part of the offering Plunkett was offering community shops.

@jdaviescoates that’s a very intriguing thought. Would the best course of action be to approach the Plunkett Foundation? Or individual Community Shops? Any leads you could pass along in either case?

The software itself is more-or-less international-ready. The bigger challenge I could imagine would be working with UK credit card processors. We have integrations for a popular payment middleware called DATACAP. Which is used by several global paycard processors. Any sense what the most common or popular paycard provider would be for small retail grocery stores in the UK?

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I’d say probably best to reach out to Plunkett. I’ll try to find out who best to contact for you…

Not sure what existing retail shops use but perhaps Plunkett would know and probably worth asking Unicorn Grocery what they use and why too…

I’ve just reached out to Unicorn’s Debbie Clarke (who recently did a tour of US co-ops) for you on the Worker Co-operatives Facebook group


Hi Joel, I’m Dan and I’m on the IT team at Unicorn Grocery. I read about CORE-POS (or its predecessor) about 7 years ago on the US grocery co-op email list. Sounded interesting but not particularly suitable for our needs then as far as I remember. Fantastic that its still going and looks to be hugely improved.

I wasn’t at the Worker Co-op Weekend this year so I missed the fascinating-sounding discussion around food coops, and open source tech, two of my big interests.

We are looking at getting a new EPOS system in the next 12 months and would certainly consider an open-source co-op developed one if suitable. I would assume that the card payment system would be the biggest hurdle, our current EPOS system is based on Microsoft Retail Managment System, and integrated card payments are handled by PayWare OCIUS from Verifone. There are many dozens of merchant account providers in the UK though, WorldPay is very popular too.

Regarding scannerscales, by far the two most common (if not only) ones I’ve seen in the UK are from Avery Berkel and Bizerba


Perhaps CoTech could do a joint bid on this? :wink:

Also, perhaps we should fork off some of this topic into something about POS/co-ops

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@danholden thanks for reaching out! And thanks for the details RE: card processors and hardware. Definitely helpful! I’d be happy to chat more about the prospect with you at your convenience. I could get the basic scope of the project and submit an estimate for what it would look like / cost to go with CORE-POS.

@kawaiipunk good suggestion: CORE-POS: The Cooperative Point of Sale System And feel free to chime in on what types of services you could foresee CoTech lending to projects such as these in the UK, i’d be interested to hear your ideas.

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hey! that’s super-cool! If you do end up in Portland hit me up! I can try and connect you to cool co-op stuff. We have 3 food co-ops, CityBikes worker-owned bike shop, Equal Exchange warehouse, and a few other fun/funky co-op businesses around town.


hi hi - i’m thinking of coming through some time in the week beginning 30th July, depending on how long i spend in the Bay Area (starting on the 21st) and whether i stop off in Eugene or not. It would be awesome to be able to stay for 2-3 days - does that sound like a possibility at all? Sounds like Portland’s pretty busy right now with ICE stuff, but then, where isn’t. And, if you don’t have a sofa or time or space to host, do you know anyone else who does? Can’t wait to meet in person :slight_smile:

Hi Cath. If you get up to Portland I’m working with someone who’s based not far from there upstream on the Columbia River. Might be interesting for you if you have the time. Contact me via email if you want more detail.