MEMBERSHIP PRIVILEGES

SALT LAKE CITY -- Associated Food Stores, the member-owned cooperative here, has seen its membership roster dip in the last couple of years -- the result of a deliberate decision it made to move customers whose orders did not meet minimum requirements to nonmember status.weekly levels of buying that reflect the true costs of operation, to assign those costs to our accounts, and to make sure we weren't

SALT LAKE CITY -- Associated Food Stores, the member-owned cooperative here, has seen its membership roster dip in the last couple of years -- the result of a deliberate decision it made to move customers whose orders did not meet minimum requirements to nonmember status.

weekly levels of buying that reflect the true costs of operation, to assign those costs to our accounts, and to make sure we weren't being too generous about paying rebates and subsidizing our services to some members."

In the process, Associated asked 135 of its 540 members to move to independent status -- "probably the first time we've done that to this extent," he said.

"But we 'grandfathered' them in, giving them all rights to membership, including access to our private-label program, advertising groups and insurance programs, but we took away their right to vote or receive rebates," Parkinson explained.

He said he was unable to quantify the savings "because we never put a dollar amount on it. But the rebates were relatively low."