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Food co-op members get rebates

Citizen Staff Writer



Members of the Food Conspiracy Co-op, 412 N. Fourth Ave., are getting rebate checks from $44,000 in profits generated by member purchases in 2008.

The co-op is sending checks ranging from $2 to $364.30 to 993 members who shopped at the co-op between Oct. 1, 2007 and Sept. 30, 2008. The checks equal 4.5 percent of a member’s spending in that time frame, said Torey Ligon, Food Conspiracy’s outreach coordinator.

“We were prepared for a 1 percent rebate,” Ligon said. “We were able to give back 4.5 percent. It’s the first time that we’ve paid out patronage rebates in our history.”

Food Conspiracy started the profit rebate program in 2006, when members voted to shift away from giving a 5 percent discount to members at the cash register.

“With the discounts, you were giving it away before you even knew you made a profit,” Ligon said.

Food Conspiracy sales totals had tumbled from a 1998 high of $2.9 million to $2.18 million in 2005.

“After 1998, we saw sales drop significantly each year to the point we thought we were going to go out of business,” Ligon said. “That’s why we changed to patron rebates.”

Food Conspiracy notched an overall $126,000 gross profit in 2008. After taxes and patron rebates are deducted, the remainder goes into the co-op’s business expansion fund, Ligon said.

Shoppers pay $180 to become members, who are the co-op’s owners. Rebate checks exceeding $180 mean those members earned back more than their investment.

Ligon said the $2.73 million sales totals in 2008 was Food Conspiracy’s second best year behind it’s peak performance in 1998. The co-op was formed in 1971.

“Organic food and a healthy diet continues to increase in popularity,” Ligon said.

She added that devoted Food Conspiracy members are not letting the recession keep them from the local and organic food grocery.

“Once people adopt a healthy habit with food, they are more likely to sacrifice entertainment before food habits,” she said.

Members of food co-op to receive rebate checks

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