What’s up everybody?!?
This will be my first broadcast since opening the store! Congratulations to all you member-owners out there . . . WE DID IT!!
Now that the store has been open for a few weeks, let’s talk about it.
We scrambled to get the doors open: Most co-ops give themselves a few weeks after getting their permits wrapped up to get products in, stocked on the shelves, and into the system before they open the doors. We couldn’t wait that long and so we pushed hard to get it all done in 11 days and be open on 4/24 (ironically 1 year to the day since the construction process started), and we didn’t get it all done. That first week was rough. I appreciate everyone’s patience when we had items that were not registering in our system, member cards/member numbers not working right—AND we were not even close to being fully stocked.
Since the opening, my team has continued to add new local vendors and new products as well as just continuing to stock the shelves with items that you all have been looking for. That job isn’t complete and I don’t think it ever will be. We are constantly on the lookout for new awesome products to fill our shelves.
I also know that a big issue for folks was the prices. We get it; our prices are higher than they should be. We’re working on it, reducing items around the store to better match prices that are out there. Full disclosure: We were not simply charging more for products—our costs were higher than they should have been. We have been working hard with our vendors to get those costs down to make things more competitive. It’s a work in progress, but you should notice some changes when you come back to shop because we’ve lowered prices on over 200 items.
Let’s talk about what has been going well. I’ve been very pleased with the staff overall and have heard a lot of positive feedback from customers. It has been a pretty crazy environment and they just jumped right in working to make this a positive experience for everyone.
I’m also very excited about the overall feel of the store. I think the store flow is good, it seems bigger inside than it should. The aisles are roomy and I think we did a good job with the overall product selections; we were able to get a good mix of local, organic, natural, and conventional items. And the café is awesome! We finally have hot coffee for sale every morning, so stop by on your way to work and grab a cup (or after work to wind down). We also have a pretty impressive to-go beer selection, and our draft list offers something for every beer drinker. (We also have kombucha on tap!)
So, with almost a month on the books, here are my biggest takeaways. The store is awesome; everyone should be proud. The Co-op continues to evolve into something more representative of its shoppers and the number of local products will continue to grow.
See you at your Co-op!