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Patronage Refunds

A patronage refund is a form of profit sharing. Co-op members receive patronage refunds in profitable years when declared by the Board of Directors.

Patronage refunds are distributed in direct proportion to a Co-op member’s patronage, or the amount of money they spent at our stores during a fiscal year. The decision to offer a patronage refund is made between October and December, following the end of our yearly financial audit.

Learn more about patronage refunds:

Why does the Co-op issue patronage refunds?
In addition to being a benefit of Co-op membership, patronage refunds align with the third Cooperative Principle, “Member Economic Participation.” Distributing patronage refunds allows members to share in the success of our community-owned business.

How do patronage refunds work?
After our yearly financial audit, and if the Co-op posts a profit for the year, the Board of Directors may declare the issuance of a patronage refund for the portion of the profits attributed to member sales.

An individual patronage refund is based on how much each member spends at North Coast Co-op over the course of the fiscal year. It is not proportionate to the amount of shares a member has invested. The more you shop, the more you get back in patronage refunds! Using your member number each time you shop at the stores ensures your patronage is being recorded.

Who is eligible to receive a patronage refund?
All Co-op members who shop at the Co-op are eligible for patronage refunds.

How do I get my refund?
Patronage refund notices are sent to the mailing address we have on file for each membership within nine months of the close of our fiscal year (the end of March). 

Depending on the member’s investment level, each member receives their refund in cash, in shares, or a combination of the two:

  • Fair Share members—those who have $300 invested in B-shares—receive 100% of their refund as a voucher that can be spent in the stores or redeemed for cash.

  • Members who have invested less than $300 in B-Shares will receive their refund partly as a voucher and partly in the form of B-Shares. The percentage that goes into B-Shares is determined annually by the Board of Directors. (During the last patronage refund issued in Fiscal Year 2016, non-Fair Share members received 50% as a voucher and 50% in B shares.)

Per the Co-op’s bylaws, all refunds less than $10.00 will be distributed in shares.

What can I do with the voucher?
Patronage refund vouchers can be used on any purchase at North Coast Co-op. Vouchers can also be redeemed for cash at Customer Service at either store location, used to invest in B-Shares or C-Shares, or they can be donated to our Cooperative Community Fund.

Why didn't I receive a patronage refund voucher?
There are several reasons why members may not have received a refund voucher:

  • The refund voucher was returned to us because we do not have a current address on file. Members can keep their phone, address and email current in our records by filling out a Request Form at Customer Service.

  • Membership number was not used at the register; therefore, no patronage was accrued.

  • Patronage refund totaled less than $10.00 and was paid to the member in shares. Members will still receive notice of the refund in the mail.

If you know your address is correct, you used your membership number at the register, and had ample patronage but still didn't receive a refund, we’re here to help solve the mystery. Contact our Membership Coordinator at (707) 443-6027 ext. 434 or membership@northcoast.coop

Are patronage refunds considered taxable income?
No. Patronage refunds are not considered taxable income if purchases were for personal/household consumption. An individual refund is a deferred price reduction on goods purchased for personal use.

Do patronage refund vouchers expire?
Yes. Patronage refund vouchers are valid until the date printed on the voucher. After that date, the voucher will no longer be active, and the refund will be subject to Unclaimed Equity, per Bylaws Section 2.07.

Additional Questions?
Please contact our Membership Coordinator by email at membership@northcoast.coop or by phone at (707) 443-6027 ext. 434.