There are several types of Co-ops, many times they are hybrids (multi-stakeholder) that involve two or more types:
Members are buying the products and/or services produced by the Co-op. A Credit Union is a famous example of a consumer cooperative, but consumer co-ops tap into every sector of the economy.
Members working jointly to process and market their products or services. In most scenarios, the producer co-ops are also consumer co-ops because the members are buying/ using their products or services. Cooperative Breweries/ Brew Pubs are one example of a producer co-op. (They also tend to be a consumer co-op as well because members enjoy drinking the beer).
Members are employed and work in the cooperative. Evergreen Cooperative in Cleveland has a few examples of a workers cooperative with their hydroponics Green House, ‘Green City Growers‘ and their laundry business ‘Evergreen Cooperative Laundry’.
Members unite to enhance their purchasing power. Buying products and services in bulk or wholesale greatly reduces the cost of each individual item. Think of shopping at Sam’s Club or Bj’s (or a wholesale store), only more opportunities and more benefits. Farmers often enter in to cooperatives to cut costs on feed, fertilizer, seeds, and other expenditures. They are also very common in the retail sector to cut costs from suppliers.
Members own real estate property (s) together. Co-op City in the Bronx of New York City is the largest cooperative housing development in the world.