Member info session Monday for planned change at GreenStar

GreenStar is holding a special member info session on Monday evening to share details and answer questions about a new “patronage refund” benefit that’s planned for the store’s members.

A community meeting at the Space at GreenStar. 14850 file photo.

The natural food market’s member-owners will get a chance to vote next month on setting up a patronage refund system that will allow members to get a proportional refund each year, if the co-op is profitable, of the savings from the store not being taxed on member purchases.

“Under a patronage scenario, co-ops are taxed only on the portion of the profit from non-member purchases,” according to a statement from GreenStar. “Since our members account for about 75% of purchases at GreenStar, that means 75% of our profits could be allocated and not taxed. This has the potential to bring our taxes down 75% while providing a benefit for member-owners, and contributing to the Co-op’s equity.”

The 46-year-old market’s roots date back to a cooperative food-buying group in 1971, but after several incarnations (including a basement “grain store” in GIAC that helped spark GreenStar’s name), growth spurts, and moves, it was a fire destroying GreenStar’s northside store nearly twenty years ago that led organizers to take over an empty supermarket in Ithaca’s west end. GreenStar has since taken over the Oasis store in the Dewitt Mall and opened a new location in Collegetown.

“Refunds are proportional to what each member-owner spent in the profitable year, so that one who spent $8,000 in a year would receive twice the refund of one who spent $4,000,” says the co-op. Members will be asked to vote on the plan next month.

The info session is Monday, September 18 from 5:30-7:30pm at The Space at GreenStar, the converted warehouse that’s now a meeting space just north of the store, on Fulton Street between Court and Buffalo.

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