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Cooperative Principle #3: Member Economic Participation

Hello PFC Peeps!

If you're just tuning in, for the past several weeks we've been exploring the cooperative principles, the fundamental underpinnings of the cooperative business movement. This week:

Cooperative Principle #3: Member Economic Participation

We think of cooperatives as people coming together to address some economic need in a democratic way that leaves communities better than they started. As a consumer grocery cooperative - a group of consumers coming together to have access to food through a food business that embodies our values - the engine that moves the machine of robust community-based food systems is purchasing through the cooperative. And the basis for economic return from the co-op is that purchasing.

Every dollar you spend at PFC fuels and moves forward the important work of building and sustaining community-based solutions to our food needs through a storefront and farmers market, and through equitable relationships with several hundred local vendors and other small businesses. 

When the cooperative business is profitable, the profits may be returned to the business to meet further needs, or they may be returned to owners in the form of patronage dividends. Patronage means shopping at the storefront. Grocery is a low-profit business. The best-run grocery achieves profits of 1-3% of total sales. On our current $2M in sales, that would mean $20,000-$60,000 in profits. When the board chooses to return profits to owners, it's based on how much we've shopped. Say I spent $1,000 at PFC during the profitable year, and you spent $5,000. If we made 2%, I would get a patronage dividend of $20 (2% of $1,000), and you'd get a dividend of $100 (2% of $5,000). 

Collectively we look for PFC to improve our lives, and we have some responsibility in that. It's our job to capitalize the cooperative through an ownership share, and through regular shopping. And when we profit, every owner profits based on how much they've shopped. 

Our amazing staff shows up every day to make a GREAT experience for you:

  • The freshest produce around, this week featuring local salads making a comeback from Fitz Farms!
  • Delectable house-made foods like this week's PFC $5 Dinner Deal of hot Italian sandwiches, and our newly made Hummingbird Cake, a banana pineapple spice cake, vegan and whole grain!
  • Bell's Oberon is on the shelf!
  • New grassfed beef cuts and hot dogs from 1000 Hills at great prices.

So shop your co-op and make the magic happen! 

Until next week,