** The 3-month Grace Period for the Annual Subscription Fee ends on 14 April 2017 **
The Annual Subscription Fee was implemented on 14 January 2017. So far, more than 600 members have paid their Annual Subscription Fee, helping Alfalfa House to manage the current financial crisis, and to build our financial reserves.
So given we are closed Good Friday (the 14th), the last day for this Grace Period — where members can choose whether or not to pay their Annual Subscription Fee — is Thursday 13 April 2017. After Easter, from Tuesday 18 April 2017, you must pay the Annual Subscription Fee in order to benefit from the regular 10% member discount. If you don’t pay the Annual Subscription Fee from 18 April 2017, you will pay the full price, with no discount.
Some background on the fee
Many other cooperatives have an Annual Subscription Fee. Alfalfa House used to have one, but it was scrapped in 2003. This temporarily boosted sales and membership, but more recently these trends have peaked and dropped off.
Alfalfa House is a not-for-profit business – ideally our sales cover our operating costs, and any profit we do make is re-invested back into the shop for the benefit of members. However, Alfafa House is now faced with increased competition and changing local demographics.
We need to respond smarter and better to these challenges:
through marketing and advertising, social media, workshops and more;
to promote our values and food ethics; and
remind people about our products and the sustainable options we offer.
This requires capital investment. At present we have very little financial reserves to do so, or to deal with any major infrastructure failure, e.g. fridges or air conditioning. The Annual Subscription Fee will help us to manage the current financial crisis, and build our financial reserves. We know (from our AGM, and from talking to people in the shop) that there is wide-spread support for this Annual Subscription Fee.
Annual Subscription Fee Rules
To impose an Annual Subscription Fee of $20, payable by all members who joined prior to 1 October 2016, from January 2017.
Late joiners - members who join after the 30 September each year will pay their first Annual Subscription Fee on the day that they join; then that member will pay their next Annual Subscription Fee in January of the following year (e.g. member joined 1 October 2017; will pay the Annual Subscription Fee on that day; will next pay the Annual Subscription Fee in January 2019).
Grace Period - a Grace Period is defined here as a period of time in which a member will not lose their 10% member discount if they don’t pay their Annual Subscription Fee. Year 1 (2017) will have a Grace Period of 3 calendar months; in Year 2 (2018) and thereafter, there will be a 1 calendar month Grace Period.
Entrance Fee - under 7.1 of the Alfalfa House Rules, we have been imposing an Entrance Fee for new members (also known as a ‘joining fee’). Because Rule 7.1 is phrased as ‘Every applicant for membership may be required to pay a once only entrance fee’ (emphasis added), this allows the board to abolish the practice of imposing an Entrance Fee and replace this with an Annual Subscription Fee of $20.
5 GST - the legal advice is that we have to impose GST on the Annual Subscription Fee. Therefore the Annual Subscription Fee is expressed as $20 inclusive of GST.
Half Yearly Review
It is likely that the board will review the implementation of the Annual Subscription Fee six months from its implementation, and will consider feedback from staff and members.
Please be patient and bear with us as we implement this new Annual Subscription Fee - thank you!