Kari Bradly, General Manager 

 

Greetings from the co-op! I hope you are enjoying spring in Vermont and anticipating both a busy and relaxing summer. Things at the co-op remain busy, not so relaxing, but certainly inspiring. Here is an update to keep you informed:

 

Co-op Conversations

Back in January, our co-op initiated a series of conversations with member-owners and employees regarding our member discounts and their impact on co-op finances. Thank you to everyone who participated in our first round of conversations; the summary report is posted here. Our steering committee has considered the input and is developing a draft recommendation to share with you in early June. Look for details of the draft (and how you can provide feedback) in our May 30 e-news.


Shopper Survey

As the co-op moves forward in pursuit of our triple bottom line of environmental, financial and social goals, we want to know how people are feeling about the co-op. In that spirit, each year we survey shoppers to gauge trends, preferences, and satisfaction regarding various co-op programs.  


This year we had 1,333 responses, which included roughly 13% of all members. Shopping patterns were largely unchanged from last year. Nearly half reported that they do at least 50% their shopping at the co-op and almost two-thirds visit the co-op at least weekly. When asked “what would induce you to shop more at the co-op,” respondents overwhelmingly indicated “lower prices” with “better product selection” a distant second. 

 

With regards to shopper satisfaction, prices garnered the lowest average score of any category by far. Respondents reported a relatively high level of satisfaction with all other aspects of our co-op including  “Overall Store,” “Overall Products,” and “Overall Service.” Customers also gave us high scores for environmental stewardship, community support and promoting health and the local food economy. Thank you to those who took our survey; the feedback we receive is critical in planning next year’s goals and activities.

 

Employee Survey

Just over half our co-op employees responded to this year’s employee survey, which is designed to gauge satisfaction and identify issues to address in the workplace. The results indicated they were less satisfied than the prior year. This could be related to an increased response rate, survey timing relative to significant workplace issues (such as a recent divisive labor issue) and/or other factors.


Our non-managerial staff indicated a lower level of satisfaction than managers.  Most of the “failing grades” and negative comments received were related to communication, trust in leadership, planning and lack of development opportunities. By contrast, most survey responders expressed a relatively high degree of satisfaction with their work and their direct supervisor. Again the survey is critical in showing how we can improve and follow through on our commitment to being an excellent employer.

 

Upcoming Events

Finally, I want to make sure you are aware of two exciting co-op events. On June 2, 3 and 4 we will host our semi-annual truckload sale designed to help you save on larger quantities of high-quality staples. This particular sale should be one of our best with over 60 items available at deep discounts. As an added bonus, inside the store, all produce and bulk foods will be 5% off.



We will also host a Dinner and Discussion for Co-op members on June 13 at 5:30 pm at the Montpelier Senior Activity Center, 58 Barre Street. After a yummy dinner, we will view a short Local Motive film and hear reactions from a few local food producers to start our discussion of the state of the Vermont food economy.  I hope you can join us. (RSVP here!)

 

Wishing you a happy and healthy spring,


Kari