Whole Foods Co-op
OPEN DAILY  7am-9pm I  Holiday Hours  I  218.728.0884

Patronage Rebate

The Third Cooperative Principle:
Member Economic Participation
Members contribute equitably to and democratically control the capital of the cooperative.
The economic benefits of a cooperative operation are returned to the members,
reinvested in the co-op or used to provide member services.

Patronage rebates are the cooperative way to equitably return a portion of profit (if any) to our Owners. Patronage rebates are based on how much you purchased during the rebate period, not on how much you invested. Your ownership and continuing support made it possible for WFC to achieve the membership, sales and operating goals that resulted in a significant profit during Fiscal Year 2016 (July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016). Following review of financial reports and tax consequences for that period, the Board of Directors authorized a patronage rebate in the amount of $454,520 to be allocated 20% as cash and 80% as retained equity for eligible Owners who made purchases in Fiscal Year 2016.


Retained equity (80% of the 2016 patronage rebate) of each Owner is held by WFC until such time as the Board authorizes payment of all of the retained equity from one or more years. Retained equity represents additional investment in WFC. Retained equity:

  • Is not interest bearing
  • Is not distributed on demand and
  • Cannot be allocated to reduce an Owner’s required equity investment.

If you decide to terminate your membership, please keep WFC advised of your current address so you can receive your retained equity in the event of an allocation after your termination.


Fiscal Year 2003 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Purchases by Owners as % of sales 55.36% 65.97% 65.40% 69.32% 70.13% 70.07% 70.75% 72.08% 72.90%
Cash rebate allocated by Board $25,122 (20%) $41,561 (20%) $91,433 (25%) $92,693 (20%) $64,627 (20%) $152,540 (20%) $147,483 (20%) $111,227 (20%) $90,904 (20%)
Number of eligible Owners 1,400 4.700 5,360 5,820 6,098 6,687 6,982 7,536 8,763


WFC calculates the percentage of the rebate available for each eligible Owner in direct proportion to his/her net (after any discounts) purchases. The same rebate percentage is used to calculate each eligible Owner’s rebate. The more goods you purchase at WFC, the more you benefit if a patronage rebate is allocated by the Board.


FISCAL YEAR 2003 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
% Cash rebate 20% 20% 25% 20% 20% 20% 20% 20% 20%
Net purchase $100/month ($1,200/year) $17.64 $7.80 $15.36 $14.16 $8.76 $18.84 $19.56 $10.80 $8.52
Net purchase $100/week ($5,200/year) $76.44 $33.80 $66.56 $61.36 $37.96 $81.64 $84.76 $46.80 $36.92


To be eligible for a 2016 patronage rebate, an Owner “in good standing” (current on equity
payments and current contact information on file) must have shopped between July 1, 2015, and June 30, 2016. Rebate checks will be mailed by December 1, 2016. Watch for your REBATE envelope!


Patronage rebates are not taxable income for Owners as they are derived from
the purchase of goods that are generally for personal use. Although allocating a patronage rebate reduces WFC’s tax liability, rebate checks not cashed will add to WFC’s tax liability in 2017. To encourage Owners to promptly cash even the smallest checks, WFC is offering an incentive when you present your 2016 rebate check toward payment of a minimum $150 purchase at WFC before January 1, 2017.

Please cash your rebate check promptly.

If you prefer to donate your rebate, please consider these local non-profit agencies that work with WFC to create a healthy regional food system:

Whole Foods Co•op


Hillside Store

610 E 4th Street
Duluth, MN 55805

Denfeld Store

4426 Grand Avenue
Duluth, MN 55807