Greetings from the Co-op! I hope you and your loved ones are doing well. To begin, I would like to acknowledge and appreciate everyone’s support as we work through the ongoing challenges of COVID-19, this year’s labor shortages, and more. It certainly has been a trying time, but I think our community has done an overall tremendous job of sticking together and prioritizing safety and our other core values.
Unfortunately, the next big challenge we are facing is supply. I am sure you have experienced product outages and delays in other settings. (For example, tried renting a car lately?) Retail grocery is not immune, and our co-op has been seeing shortages of certain items. Based on what we are hearing and reading, there are disruptions to various parts of the supply chain: agriculture impacts and ingredient shortages, manufacturing and processing delays, packaging and supply challenges, and a variety of pandemic and social issues contributing to labor shortages, including a lack of truck drivers and warehouse workers.
The situation is complex and dynamic, and we are monitoring it closely. From our national suppliers, we are focusing on priority items and seeking alternative supply where there are gaps. We want to provide and suggest alternatives where it makes sense; you may see some new and different items in place of the usuals as a result. Our national association of food co-ops helps us monitor trends and hold our primary distributors to account for supply standards. We also plan to do more to communicate when we anticipate long-term shortages of staples and those important seasonal items.
While these product shortages can be inconvenient, even distressing at times, we see them as temporary. Ultimately, our food system, especially our network of local suppliers, is strong and resilient. Most of the challenges derive from COVID and the labor market, so we can expect to be resolved in time, and we will do our best to develop solutions where we can. Thank you for your patience and support.
The Co-op’s Annual Meeting will be Thursday, November 4 at 6 pm. To be as safe as possible, we are using Zoom for a remote meeting again this year. Keep an eye out for your Annual Meeting packet, arriving in member mailboxes in the coming weeks. I am looking forward to sharing time together and celebrating the successes of this remarkable past year for our co-op community.
See you in the aisles,
Kari Bradley, General Manager