2015 was a landmark year for People’s Food Co-op. In 2014 we did not post a profit and so were unable to pay out patronage dividends. Faced with significant competition and increasing costs all around, would we be able to turn the tide in 2015? What did this mean for the long-term health and viability of our co-op? Well, this past year our Collective Management was able to tighten belts, get creative, and end the year with positive net income and sales growth! This has positioned us well for 2016 as we begin in earnest to craft our Long Term Plan.
With the recent release of our 2015 Annual Report, active Member-Owners also received a Patronage Dividend. If you did not receive your Annual Report and Patronage Dividend - it is likely that we have the wrong address (click here to update your address). There are a number of dividends at the co-op that were undeliverable, stop by and ask a cashier to see if yours is here.
What is patronage?
Patronage is the amount of our store's net income that came from Member-Owner sales. As a consumer-owned co-op, when the co-op makes a profit, we are required by law to pay out at least 20% of that patronage to Member-Owners; we can choose to pay out 100%. This year, your Board of Directors has chosen to distribute 60% of 2015 patronage back to Member-Owners. This is the highest percentage ever paid out since the beginning of the patronage system in 2007!
Due to a modest amount of profit made in 2015, this equates to each household receiving about 0.83% of their 2015 total spending back. When deciding if and how much patronage to pay out, the Board of Directors balances many factors. This year we wish to celebrate our financial turnaround, distribute as much profit back to owners as is financially responsible, and recognize the increasing economic pressure many among us face. We also wish to safeguard the long-term health of the co-op, keep the amount of profit in perspective and remain mindful of the challenges we are likely to face together in the coming years. Retained patronage helps the co-op build collective wealth for use in years to come.
Your dedication to People's and steadfast patronage of our store are the reasons we are here. As Member-Owners of People's we share in both our successes and challenges - we are in this together and WE OWN IT!