Dear Co-op Owners and Shoppers,
We are so excited to have finally opened our doors after 10 years of community organizing, investment, and hard work. Now that we’re open, we are working to fine tune our systems. That means our department leads and I are doing walkthroughs of our store and operational systems to ensure they support operational sustainability and also fall in line with our mission and end statements. We also welcome your input here: customer comment form.
As you know, one of our most important values is providing our whole community access to fresh, healthful foods. Throughout January and February we will be making it a priority to review our pricing structures and roll out new programs to advance our goal that "Our neighbors at all income levels have access to high-quality, healthful food."
On the topic of pricing, we are happy with the progress we have made in regards to pricing for our produce, bread, and many local items. We are aware that we have some work to do in regards to both the wholesale price we pay as well as the retail price of some of our nationally distributed items, there is a connection between the two.
As a small start-up there are many complex variables and hurdles that we must navigate to meet this important goal. Our first year sales projections fall under $2M, and that means we are small potatoes compared to chain stores. Economy of scale is real and larger chains can buy things by the truckload that we purchase by the case. The food system has many challenges and this is one of them. Money = power. It's important to note that as a small retailer large distributors do not give us the same lower prices as chains like Acme, Walmart, and Whole Foods get through substantial volume discounts. Chain store volume discounts vastly exceed ours and that means at times they are selling items close to what we pay cost. Additionally as a new store bringing in thousands of products, means there thousands of prices that need to be evaluated. Lastly opening the store in the midst of a pandemic meant that we a number of other adjustments we had to make to open our store safely that included additional equipment and planning, and we had to reduce the number of people who could be involved in the setting of the store to ensure we were working with the health of our workers and the public in mind. Overall we came into this opening with less capacity than we had originally planned, but it was important for us to open when we did because our community needs fresh, healthy food, our staff need jobs, and our sustainability relied on opening our doors as quickly as possible given all the construction, equipment, and supply delays caused by the pandemic.
Here is our plan:
- Everyday Basics Program - Roll out our Everyday Basics program which will bring over 75 staple food items and other household essentials down to an everyday low price. We’ll be rolling this out by January 18th.
- Field Day Program - We are signing up for volume discount pricing on Field Day brand products. This will allow us to work those items into our Everyday Basics Program.
- Product Mix Assessment- We will be working to evaluate our products section by section to make sure we have a lower priced item in all key categories.
- Increasing our Sales - This is where you come in! When you support the store by shopping at the co-op we can increase our sales to get more deliveries from our distributor. As we are able to increase the number of deliveries they can make and the dollars we purchase from them we will have better, more consistent supply and greater volume discounts.
- Working with Vendors - We will be negotiating with vendors to get lower wholesale prices, more volume discounts, seeking out new suppliers, and lowering prices whenever possible.
- Sales Programs - our produce department sales program is in effect, check back each week for special deals, our grocery department will be rolling out it’s first sales items on January 14th.
- More Ways to Save! - We will also be rolling out our Owner Appreciation Days, Sales Program, and Owner Only Specials as outlined on this page. Stay tuned for more details.
We appreciate your support, feedback, and patience. And remember this is your store and your patronage is fundamentally tied to our long term financial health and vitality.