Dear Kootenay Co-op Member-Owner,
At the February meeting of the Kootenay Co-op Board of Directors, we decided to increase the threshold from $300 to $500 for members to receive an additional 10% savings. The decision arose as a result of analysis by our Finance Committee, and with support from the Member Outreach Committee.
The “$300 shop” was established in 1992 to encourage member-owners to make a concerted effort to do more of their shopping at the Co-op. At the time, and several times since, our board has discussed whether this benefit is equitable to all our member-owners. In 1992, $300 was an extraordinarily large transaction, and it required planning and commitment for most of our member-owners. Was it fair, we asked, to give an extra discount only to people who can afford to spend more money at once? Should someone who spends $100 per week get less of a benefit than someone who shops once? For the good of the Co-op, the board at the time decided that it was worth creating this incentive for extraordinary transactions.
Over the 25 years since the benefit was put in place, several boards have discussed whether to eliminate the benefit or increase the threshold. In February 2018, we decided that the time had come to adjust the threshold to reflect inflation. Because the cost of goods has increased substantially since 1992, there are now many instances where member-owners reach the $300 threshold unintentionally in the course of routine shopping. Increasing the threshold to $500 returns the program to its original intent of rewarding people who make a significant and extraordinary transaction at our Co-op.
We recognize that our decision makes it more difficult for many individual member-owners to receive the benefit. The change will create a benefit, however, for all member-owners as a co-operative. The significant savings that our Co-op will realize from changing this benefit will be used in ways that benefit everyone, such as member pricing, patronage return, or investment in our Co-op’s infrastructure.
As the Board of Directors, we are responsible to make decisions on behalf of the Co-op as a whole. Although it will pose a difficulty for some member-owners in the short term, this change is in the best interest of our Co-operative in the long term. Please see the reverse for some frequently asked questions regarding this change. If you have further questions, please write them on a Customer Feedback Form or e-mail Board@kootenay.coop and we will be happy to respond.
Abra Brynne, Board President
PS You may want to read our FAQ about the $500 shop.