Membership FAQs Patronage Dividend Info What is a patronage dividend? Patronage dividends (also known as patronage refunds) are your share of the co-op’s profits, distributed back to you. After the close of our fiscal year (June 30), our board reviews the co-op’s financials and if we’ve had a profitable fiscal year, they’ll decide what amount is appropriate to be retained and what amount should be distributed to member-owners. That total dividend amount is then divided among member-owners in proportion to the individual amount each spent over the past fiscal year. Note: We ended fiscal year 2019 on June 30th with sales essentially even from the prior year. We continue to manage our expenses to match sales but have not achieved bottom line profitability. As a result, we will not be distributing a patronage dividend this year. How much is a patronage dividend? The amount of your patronage dividend depends on how much profit the co-op made in the previous fiscal year (July 1-June 30), what major expenses are planned for the upcoming year, and how much each member-owner spent. Each year, the board must weigh these considerations to determine how much (and if) a patronage dividend distribution should be made. Shopping only occasionally may mean a dividend of a few dollars annually, while being one of our top shoppers could mean you receive over $100 a year! Note: Patronage dividends are not taxable income if the purchases were for personal/household use. When do I get a patronage dividend? Each October we publish an annual report for the cooperative detailing our performance in three key areas – People, Planet, and Profits. If we’ve had a profitable fiscal year, a report of your membership spending with your dividend notification will be mailed to you. Patronage dividends are usually distributed as an electronic credit that may be spent at the register when you shop. Note: If you are a LIME member, your patronage dividend is applied to your membership equity until you have reached the full $90 membership investment cost. After that point, you will receive patronage dividends similar to other member-owners. Membership Status & Refund Requests I want to request a refund of my membership investment. How do I do that? We hate to see you go, but understand that circumstances change. First, your membership must be paid in full to be eligible for a refund. Not sure if you’ve paid in full yet? Contact us or ask a staff member at our customer service desk to look up your payment status. Next, the primary stockholder should fill out a membership equity refund request form and return it to us. Our board will vote on this refund at their next monthly meeting. Note: It may take up to 4-6 weeks to receive your refund check as it is dependent on the schedule of board meetings. I’d like to give my membership to someone else. How do I do that? Unfortunately, we cannot transfer stock ownership to anyone outside of your household because our bylaws specifically prohibit this. Since it is a household membership, we can refund your membership and use those funds to purchase one for someone else in your household (using the same membership number) in one easy process. This requires the stockholder to fill out a quit claim request form (to relinquish the stock) and approval from our board of directors. After these steps have occurred, the original stockholder’s name can be changed to the new stockholder’s name in the household. Note: The process can take up to a month as it is dependent on the schedule of board meetings. A member-owner passed away. What happens to the membership? The surviving partner or executor of the estate has a couple of options: 1. Deactivate the membership, leaving the equity invested in the member-owner’s name to continue benefiting the community and cooperative. Co-op membership mailings will cease. 2. Complete a quit claim request form for the deceased, requesting to change the stockholder’s name to that of another household member. The membership will stay active in that new name. You may also request a full refund of the membership to be issued; in this case, membership will completely cease. I was a member-owner decades ago, but haven’t shopped. Am I still a member-owner? It is very likely! We’ll need to look up your membership to check the status to be sure. Please send us a message with your name (including any previous names you went by and other household members’ names that the account could have been listed under, or the address where you lived back then). Your account is most likely inactive and will simply need to be re-activated by shopping and/or making an equity payment if it is not paid in full. Note: In 1990, the price of membership stock at Mississippi Market was raised from $6 to $80. All member-owners were given the choice to continue membership at the new rate or discontinue membership. Those who discontinued in 1990 are not found in our current system and will need to start fresh with a new membership. I lost my membership key tags. How do I get a replacement? No problem! Just fill out this membership card replacement form and we’ll have a new one ready for you at customer service in 4 business days. Membership Address & Name Change Requests I’m moving. How can I update my address with the co-op? Send us a message with your name, member-owner number, and new address. We’ll get your account updated right away. Depending on the timing within our production schedule, you may still receive one newsletter at the old address. I’m moving far, far away. What happens to my membership? Please update your address with us so that you will still receive any patronage dividends issued the following October. If you decide not to do anything, the membership will be deactivated after 18 months have passed without you shopping. This will cause mailings and membership benefits to cease. The membership can be re-activated at any time by shopping again. You may also choose to request a refund of your membership equity, but only if your membership is paid in full. We hope you’ll use the funds to invest in another co-op near your new home! See below for how to refund your membership and click here to look for a new co-op where you are moving. My name is changing. How can I update my name with the co-op? Send us a message with your previous and new name and member-owner number. We’ll get your account updated right away. Electronic Member-Owner Coupons How does the electronic member-owner coupon work? There’s no need to print anything or clip paper coupons – electronic member coupons will be waiting at the store for your use! Since electronic member coupons are associated with your member-owner number, cashiers will receive a prompt to remind you if your discount has not been used toward the end of each quarter. Signs announcing the last date to use your quarterly member discount can also be found near every register. Note: As of July 1st, 2018, member discounts are valid for 10% off of one shopping trip transaction per quarter. The current quarterly electronic member coupon is valid July 1st through September 30th – quarterly discounts do not rollover. How has coupon stacking changed? Our cooperative principles guide us in caring for our communities and bringing great food and cooperative values to a growing number of people. We strive to have the greatest impact on people most in need in our communities. Changing the structure of coupon stacking allows us to continue offering the 10% discount to our LIME members and ensures that the program remains sustainable. Note: As of July 1st, 2018, LIME members continue to receive a 10% discount on daily purchases, but do not receive an additional 10% off from quarterly member discounts. Will senior member-owners still be able to use their member discount any day of the week? Yes, senior member-owners are still able to use their member-owner coupons any day of the week, including on Senior-Savings Thursday, when seniors over the age of 62 can save an additional 5% off of their purchases. LIME Renewal FAQs Do I need to renew my eligibility in the LIME program each year? Yes, LIME membership must be renewed on an annual basis. Why do I have to renew my LIME discount? Circumstances change and we don’t want to assume that you’ll always be in need of financial assistance. We want to ensure we’re reaching those most in need. When I renew my eligibility in the program, will my LIME membership payment plan change? No. Once you sign up for a LIME membership, we’ll continue making payments on it from the “earned” cash portion of your patronage dividends until you reach the full $90 membership equity level. Renewing your eligibility does not change your payment plan. Can’t you store my proof of eligibility so that I don’t have to renew? We take confidentiality and privacy seriously and do not want to store any documents that contain your social security number or income amount on site. I’ve lost my proof of income-based financial assistance. Can I still renew? Unfortunately, we require proof of enrollment in an income-based financial assistance program to be a part of the LIME program. This documentation is the only way we’re able to verify eligibility. If you’ve lost documentation, please contact the agency you receive benefits through to request a new proof-of-enrollment letter or card verifying your participation. Please send any additional LIME renewal questions you have to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will respond in a timely manner.