Retail cooperatives sell consumer goods to members and non-members. Members enjoy discounts, patronage refunds, or both. Patronage refunds are a percentage of the total amount of money a member has spent on purchases over a specific period of time. These refunds come from the earnings of the cooperatives.
Retail cooperatives also offer control. Because the members elect representatives to the board of directors and can participate in general membership meetings, consumers control the operation and policies of the cooperative.