Customer Comments 9/7/18 and 10/5/18


Customer Question: Could we please carry Vegetarian Gourmet vegan GF burgers from Canada? Thanks.
Co-op Answer: Thank you for your input! This is not currently available from our distributors but I will be sure to pass along to them that we are hearing customer interest in the brand. -Olivia, Grocery Buyer

Q: Hi, I was writing to request an item.  So Delicious is a yogurt and ice cream brand and I noticed that there is the coconut milk substitute for dairy and I was hoping to see the almond milk substitute.  Vanilla yogurt and vanilla ice cream.  Thank you.
A: Thank you for your input.  We do currently carry Kite Hill almond yogurt.  Our ice cream set is very full with all of the many local options available to us, so it is difficult to add new items, but if we do make room, we will consider expanding into an almond ice cream. -Olivia, Grocery Buyer

Q: I agree! Halvah, please! Bulk. Without glucose or HFCS if possible!
A: Thank you for your input! Unfortunately we have not been able to find a clean version of this product from distributors.  UNFI finally brought in a halvah, but it contains artificial color and partially hydrogenated oil.
-Olivia, Grocery Buyer

Q: I’m so glad to see the Gardein meatless products; they are all exceptional.  However, can’t we get them for a lower price? Walmart sells them for $3.99!
A: Thank you for your input! Walmart receives much better costs on items because they are a very large corporation.  We will review our pricing on these items to see if we can come down at all. -Olivia, Grocery Buyer

Q: Hi! Any chance to get hormone-free sets/packs of individual serving milk/choc milk for kiddo lunches?
A: Thank you for your input! We currently carry the Organic Valley packs of single serve milks in whole and chocolate. Organic Valley’s entire line is hormone free.  -Olivia, Grocery Buyer

Q: Would you consider adding frozen riced cauliflower to your stock of frozen veggies, please?
A: Thank you for your input! We will definitely consider adding this item in as it is definitely trending right now.  I will work with the frozen buyer to find room for this. -Olivia, Grocery Buyer

Q: You have run out of Green and Black’s dark 85% often in the last few months.  Is there a reason for this and when will it be back on the shelf? 
A: Thank you for your input! This product is back on the shelf now, but it seems to me that our part for ordering this product is too low.  I have increased it so that we will have 3 full cases on our shelf.  This is a very popular product and does sometimes sell faster than we can stock it, so please don’t hesitate to ask for assistance if it is out again. -Olivia, Grocery Buyer

Q: Runa tea, cinnamon and citrus. 
A: Thank you for your input! At this time we are unable to source any of the Runa teas from any of our distributors. -Olivia, Grocery Buyer

Q: Please consider carrying “Hippeas” – a delicious GF snack made out of chickpea flour.  
A: Thank you for your input! We have been considering this item for awhile.  We will add it when we do our next reset for our plant based chip set.  -Olivia, Grocery Buyer

Q: I am curious as to why a small flatbread pizza in Westchester Co., NY (of all places) is regularly priced at $6.49 and here it is $8.99.  Shaw’s also puts them on sale a lot! All Day IPA also much cheaper anywhere but here.  Just a question…
A: Thank you for your input! I am not sure what other stores’ pricing is based on.  Our small flatbreads were on sale for $6.69 in June and will be again this fall.  Also please check out our Truckload Sale for 50% off the large pizzas.  -Olivia, Grocery Buyer

Q: Would love to see Canyon Bakehouse GF bagels in the store.  They are the best GF bagels! Thanks. 
A: Thank you for your input! We will consider adding these items into our set on our next GF freezer reset. -Olivia, Grocery Buyer

Q: Would love to see more of the Loacker Wafer cookie flavors – hazelnut, black current, chocolate (vs. dark chocolate).  Also saw in Greensboro – do come in smaller bags. 
A: Thank you for your input! I will look into expanding our flavor offerings (hazelnut sounds delicious).  Unfortunately, the large bags are the only ones offered by our distributor.  -Olivia, Grocery Buyer

Q: Why did the Organic Valley butter go up $1.50…Shaw’s and Middlebury Co-op still have it for $5.99.
A: Thank you for your input! Unfortunately, the cost of this product went up significantly in July this year due to butterfat shortages.  We raised our price from $6.99 to $7.49 even though our cost went up almost a full dollar.  I am not sure what pricing Shaw’s or Middlebury Co-op are receiving.  We do sell our Cabot butter at $3.75, making it the least expensive in Montpelier. -Olivia, Grocery Buyer

Q: Could you please get more flavors of the Kevita probiotic drinks? Thanks! They are amazing!
A: Thank you for your input! Unfortunately, our beverage cooler has almost no extra space at this time.  If there is a specific flavor you we interesting in, we could look into swapping out one of our older flavors with a newer one. -Olivia, Grocery Buyer

Q: Sweet Loren’s gluten free cookies. 
A: Thank you for your input! None of our distributors currently carry this product, but we will reach out to let them know there is interest.  -Olivia, Grocery Buyer

Q: Could you please carry mustard oil for cooking?
A: Thank you for your input! The USDFA has banned mustard oil for edible consumption in the US, so we cannot sell this product in our Grocery Dept.-Olivia, Grocery Buyer

Q: Flatbread makes GF pizzas – please consider stocking them, thanks. 
A: Thank you for your request.  As space allows, we will consider this product.  In the meantime, you can special order this by giving us a call. -Leo, Grocery Manager

Q: Amy’s GF vegetable pot pies are extremely useful.  Were they available, people would have much better access to gluten-less protein…please carry them?
A: Thank you for your suggestion.  We have carried this product in the past and discontinued it due to slow sales.  This item is available for special order.  -Leo, Grocery Manager

Q: The Green and Black 85% chocolate bar is consistently out of stock.  Why not just place larger orders for this item?
A: Thank you for bringing this to our attention.  We will order extra. -Leo, Grocery Manager

Q: Can you get Oatley oat milk?
A: Thank you for your request.  At this point in time, we are unable to get that product from our distributors. -Leo, Grocery Manager

Q: Stacey’s tortillas please! So yummy and way less additives than the ones you have now.
A: Thank you for your request.  At this point in time we are unable to get them from our distributor. -Leo, Grocery Manager

Q: Elderberry kombucha on tap?
A: Thank you for your request.  I will inform our distributor that we have a request for this flavor. -Leo, Grocery Manager

Q: Would it be possible to get Wasa oat crackers added to your Wasa mix? Thank you. 
A: Thank you for your request.  At this point in time it does not seen like that type is available from our distributor. -Leo, Grocery Manager

Q: I’m missing Barowski’s bread again.  Please bring it back. 
A: We did have a service interruption with them but they are back now. -Leo, Grocery Manager

Q: Please expand Lily’s stevia sweetened chocolate to include caramel and nuts. 
A: Thanks for your request.  We are planing on doing a reset for that section in January and will consider it at that time. -Leo, Grocery Manager

Q: Please bring back the plain Sea Snax .54 oz. Thanks.
A: Thank you for the request.  We discontinued that product due to slow sales, however, you can special order it.  Just give us a call and we can have it here within two weeks. -Leo, Grocery Manager

Q: Gluten free oats in bulk?
A: We have them.  These can be found in our wheat-free section in bulk. -Terry, Bulk Buyer

Q: Please carry beans (in bulk) from the USA, not from China.  City Market in Burlington, Buffalo Mountain,and Healthy Living do carry black beans grown in the USA.  I would like my co-op to have them.  Thanks. 
A: We are now stocking US sourced Organic Black Beans. -Terry, Bulk Buyer

Q: US black dry beans, not from China. Thank you!
A: We are now buying black beans sourced from the USA. -Terry, Bulk Buyer

Q: Please carry alternatives to bulk products from China, namely black beans, adzuki beans, mung beans, and pumpkin seeds.  For example, other co-ops in VT carry US produced black beans.
A: We are now stocking US sourced organic black beans. -Terry, Bulk Buyer

Q: We had to throw out 4 packages of the Paleo turkey bacon two days after opening – it seems to go sour way too quickly.  We eat a lot of turkey bacon.  This is a seriously inferior product.  Much prefer Applegate’s – would drive to Burlington to get it if it’s continued here.
A: Hello, I’m sorry to hear that the Paleo turkey bacon wasn’t up to snuff.  We always appreciate product feedback – positive or negative! We brought back the Applegate and 86ed the Paleo. -Nick, Meat Buyer

Q: Florida Natural orange juice.  Why not try the “most pulp” version? We have to go to Shaw’s for it.
A: Thank you for your request.  As space allows in the cooler, we will consider it.  In the meantime, you could special order this product. -Leo, Grocery Manager

Food Services

Q: At the salad bar: 1. The green leaf lettuce needs to be handled more gently when prepping.  Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it is pretty bruised. 2. Consistently thin slicing of the red cabbage works best. 
A: Thanks for the feedback.  We are switching to romaine lettuce which is more substantial and robust, so this should take care of that.  We are reviewing the training on red cabbage as well. -Doug, Prepared Foods Manager

Q: Thank you so much for the delicious vegan tapioca in the deli section.  Such a treat for a vegan!
A: So glad you like it.  This is a Nessa original. -Doug, Prepared Foods Manager

Q: I miss chicken wings in the grab and go section.  Please bring them back!
A: Thanks for the suggestion.  It has been at least three years since we served these! The demand wasn’t there which is why they were discontinued. -Doug, Prepared Foods Manager

Q: Will you please provide maple syrup at the coffee bar?
A: I do not anticipate offering this at this time, but thanks for the suggestion. -Doug, Prepared Foods Manager

Q: I bought a Greek yogurt parfait from the deli today and it had way fewer berries than usual.  At this time in the summer there should have been more berries, thank you. 
A: Agreed, they should have the same amount all the time.  Thanks for bringing this to our attention.  -Doug, Prepared Foods Manager

Q: Hey – for the hot meals in the meat selection, if you could have one of the options w/o dairy / pork. Thanks. 
A: Will do! -Doug, Prepared Foods Manager

Q: I am an employee, but also a paying customer.  When I order from the deli (on break), they should make it! Not wait 30 min then start it.  So frustrating. 
A: You are absolutely correct.  I would be frustrated too.  No sandwich should take that long.  Please come and discuss with me so I can suss out the details. Thanks. -Doug, Prepared Foods Manager

Q: Why do I have to turn the chocolate cakes and carrot cakes around to see the price? 
A: The price in the front makes it hard to identify the item on the shelf. -Doug, Prepared Foods Manager

Q: I think there should be fresh Acai bowls on the menu!
A: Great idea! We are exploring the possibility of something just like this at the deli. -Doug, Prepared Foods Manager

Q: Okay, at the “hot bar” I expect to find hot items – duh.  But when it’s 100 degrees F outside? Why not offer a greater variety of Gazpacho, fruit salads, and other cooling dishes? Thank you!
A: Great suggestions, thanks for taking the time to share them. 

Q: Coconut choc. chip muffins are great! Please, can you add some more choc chips? Tnx. 
A: Will do! -Doug, Prepared Foods Manager

Q: The person prepping the green lettuce for the salad bar needs training.  They are too heavy handed and the lettuce is bruised.  Occasionally it is prepped well, I assume by another person, but the lettuce being beat up is common. 
A: It is a very delicate green and we are shifting to a heartier romaine which should address this concern best. -Doug, Prepared Foods Manager

Q: There were no glasses, no metal forks and no metal spoons.   That’s a helluva way to run a restaurant.  And otherwise you’re so damn good!
A: My apologies – we must do better and we will. -Doug, Prepared Foods Manager

Q: More coop made soups! Much better! Less kale in hot deli – enough already!
A: Thanks for the feedback! -Doug, Prepared Foods Manager

Q: More vegan GF options in deli, plz. 
A: Do you have any particular requests or favorite recipes? Please connect with me so we can see about specific things we might offer. -Doug, Prepared Foods Manager

Q: At the salad bar – the red cabbage is better when sliced thinner.  How about doing it on a slicer or a mandolin?
A: We have reviewed this with the team and it should be corrected. -Doug, Prepared Foods Manager

Q: Please bring back some type of natural/organic/ABF roast beef in the deli!
A: We never offered organic roast beef in the deli since I have been here.  The Boar’s Head roast beef has the same specifications as the McKenzie Artisan, but with less ingredients. -Doug, Prepared Foods Manager

Q: Cajun Blackened Chicken in deli – excellent!
A: Thanks! -Doug, Prepared Foods Manager

Q: Some of your deli employees are awesome! Some (including management) have made it abundantly clear that they don’t want my business.  No wonder they’re hemorrhaging money!
A: Thanks for taking the time to share this.  I agree that we do have some great staff! -Doug, Prepared Foods Manager

Q: 3 vegetables, all with cheese. 
A: That sounds like an anomaly and not a standard operating process. Can you tell me what day and meal period this was? -Doug, Prepared Foods Manager

Q: Sweet. Heat. Where did it go? I can see how burrito day is complicated, but please bring back Sweet Heat. It should be a standard condiment – deli and hot bar!
A: We do have some local hot sauces and srirachas that we offer on the bar now – the VT maple sriracha should meet that flavor profile for you. -Doug, Prepared Foods Manager

Q: I’ve pondered commenting on the wooden flatware and have come to the conclusion that while I support them over plastic, they don’t really work.  I’ll bring my own. Let’s get rid of them, thanks!
A: Thanks for your input – this is a perfect example of the push–>pull for practicality and good stewardship.  We are still evaluating these. -Doug, Prepared Foods Manager


Q: Thanks for considering this feedback.  Please consider hanging a banner or sign in big, visible area when one enters the store reflecting current member coupon.  Then we can think and keep in mind while they shop instead of at check out.
A: Thank you, great idea! We have started using signs in the sandwich boards flanking the front door to alert members to the current member coupon. Thanks. -Kari, General Manager

Q:Colorful ribbon on blah cars! Combinations tied to shoppers’ carts.  Eventually certain drawing combinations could be happy wins. 
A: Interesting idea…I’m sure that could brighten things up.  It’s not a priority right now given all the other projects we are working on but I appreciate the suggestion. -Kari, General Manager

Q: Can staff not use the public restrooms – please! Unless the store is really slow.  Thank you. 
A: I understand that the competition for bathrooms can be difficult at peak time but I feel this is an area where all co-op stakeholders (members, customers, vendors and employees) are equal.  Everyone should have equitable access to the bathroom. -Kari, General Manager

Q: We should be able to have family memberships.  It is a need for some. Thank you.
A: A household or family membership has been requested many times over the past 15 years.  Our bylaws call for individual based membership explicitly and this was confirmed in 2008 when we discussed it with members.  It is something that can be changed and I will pass the request to the council. -Kari, General Manager

Q: The new(er) phone system is incredibly frustrating and ineffective.  It takes multiple calls to reach anyone and you’re usually directed to a voicemail instead of just being able to reach a human being who could help you or page someone like before.  Please improve this.
A: Thank you for the feedback.  We tried to streamline the system to make the most popular options the first ones you hear.  We recently reviewed call data and will adjust again soon.  You can always dial 0 to reach an employee. -Kari, General Manager

Q: Love the compostable utensils and paper straws. Finally! #nomoreplastic
A: Glad you love them! -Kari, General Manager

Q: I really like this store! Employees are so kind and friendly and helpful.  Some have intense body odor which is a turn off when thinking of food.
A: Thank you for the complement.  My apologies about the BO.  I will communicate a reminder to employees that it is a part of the customer service we provide. -Kari, General Manager

Q:I like the new paint job! Starting to see more and more patrons barefoot in the store – not a good thing. 
A: Thank you.  We are not allowed to have barefoot customers, per the Health Department.  If we observe a barefoot customer, we will politely ask them to help us comply. -Kari, General Manager

Q: It would help to clarify whether your deli plastic containers go into the recycling bin, given that they’ll not be rinsed first. Your employees have different views about this but are also uncertain. 
A: Thank you for bringing this up! It is accurate that plastics/recyclables need to be clean to be recycled.  Something like a baked good may leave it clean enough, but a more greasy/messy salad needs to be rinsed out.  The Green Team will spread the word. -Emma, Customer Service Rep

Q: Clear verbal instructions for bussing used stuff in cafe – Where do wooden sporks go? What does [trashcan] mean?
A: We have updated our signage – I hope you find it helpful! Wooden utensils need to go in trash until we get an OK from NOFA and our composting service.  -Emma, Customer Service Rep 

Q: You really need a chair rail to catch the carts from from ruining your paint job. 
A: I think we have since put up the bulletin boards since you wrote this.  These do a nice job of meeting that need an more.  Thanks for helping us preserve our beautiful paint job.  -Mary, Facilities Manager

Q: You need a chair rail to protect your new paint job from gouges. 
A: I believe you are referring to our exit way.  We have put our bulletin boards back up since you wrote this and they are filling that need really nicely. Please let me know if you were referring to another area. Thank you very much for your suggestion. -Mary, Facilities Manager

Q: If the various discount offers require customer to tell cashier that s/he is eligible for discount, e.g. HABA, please put that on the sign.  Saves time, thanks. I’m not referring to coupons.  I am referring to posted signs that say things like: “buy this much and save this much” – cashiers should be educated.
A: Sorry for the confusion.  The member coupons always take the form of “save $X when you spend $Y”.  The program started as a true coupon, but now you only have to ask for it (and be a member). We are adding that language to the signs. -Kari, General Manager

Q: Can’t read member comments too high.
Q: Please return the suggestion board to its previous accessible position.  (Just try to read it if you have bi-focals).
Q: Please lower the suggestion board.  Some of us cannot read it up there.  The old position would be good. 
Q: Um, so unless we have 20/10 vision, there is no way to read the top two rows of the message board, please move it down. 
Q: New comment board is too high for me to read – I’m only 5′ 2 1/2″ tall!
Q: Um, a whole lot of us can’t read the comments and suggestions. Board is up too high.  
A: We thought they were too high, too! We have made some adjustments and it should be better now. -Emma, Customer Service Rep

Q: I have found that the past months there has been a lack of availability of many products – whoever is doing the buying is not doing as a good a job as before – today there were 4-5 products that were out of stock.  A few days ago, just as many – please improve purchasing!