From the General Manager – June 21, 2020

Greetings from the Co-op,

Kari Bradley general manager

It’s hard to believe we are more than three months into life during a pandemic. It sometimes seems to me like the days are longer than the weeks. The good news is we have done so much as a community to protect ourselves and each other while maintaining relationships and services. I read recently that Washington County has the lowest COVID-19 incidence rate in the state, which is in large part testament to our care and concern for one another.

The reality going forward is that the threat of COVID-19 will be with us for the foreseeable future and we need the plans and capacity to sustain for the long haul. It has been a challenge and an honor to help shape those plans and I am very appreciative of the efforts of our staff, council, members, shoppers and local vendors to serve our community with patience and kindness.

In that spirit, here are a few updates on a variety of Co-op topics I hope you find useful:

Curbside Pick-Up and Lunch-to-Go: In an effort to provide groceries as safely as possible, our team moved quickly to develop two new programs that minimize close contact. Curbside Pick-Up is easy, convenient, and safe. Customers can choose from over a thousand items with more of your favorites added every week. We offer pick-up times before we open and after closing five days per week with customers simply pulling up to our front door to receive their groceries. Lunch-to-Go offers a selection of sandwiches, salads and other items that you can order by 10 am Monday through Friday and pick up in our parking lot between noon and 1 pm. You can find out more about these exciting new programs here.

Single-Use Item Law:  Beginning July 1, Vermont’s Act 69 will ban the use of the ubiquitous plastic carryout bag and other single-use items from grocery stores. The primary impact for our Co-op will be a mandatory 10 cent fee for every large paper carryout bag. (At this moment, its not clear yet whether that fee will be taxable, bringing the total to 11 cents.) The intent of the fee is to incentivize us towards reusable bags (which some stores have been not allowing during the pandemic). We encourage reusable bag use but please be prepared to bag your own groceries. In response to this change, we will be selling a couple of new types of reusable bags at our cost. We will continue to extend a five-cent donation to the Montpelier Food Pantry for each reusable carryout bag. Remember it is important to wash reusable bags frequently.

Council Information Sessions: The Co-op Council fulfills the governance role critical to the success of any cooperative. All summer long, we will be offering information sessions for members and staff who are curious about the council or considering serving. The sessions use video conferencing (or phone) and last about a half-hour. Our next session will be Friday, July 10 at noon. You can find log-in information and a full schedule of the sessions here.

Give Change to the Vermont Foodbank: A dramatic increase in hunger is one of the most significant impacts of the pandemic locally. Our friends at the Vermont Foodbank have reported a 46% increase in food insecurity in the state. Our co-op will continue to make this a priority issue for the foreseeable future. You can help by rounding up your transaction with all Give Change proceeds going to the Foodbank throughout 2020. Please consider a direct donation to the Foodbank.

Wishing you a happy solstice and a healthy summer ahead,

Kari Bradley, General Manager