Café Reopening, New Deli Hours & Curbside Pick-Up
Since the beginning of the pandemic, our co-op has prioritized safety and maintaining community access to the good food and other products we supply. We have learned a lot about the COVID-19 virus, public health, crisis management, and ourselves.
Greetings from the Co-op. I hope you are well and withstanding the ongoing winter weather. Spring can’t be too far now.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, our co-op has prioritized safety and maintaining community access to the good food and other products we supply. We have learned a lot about the COVID-19 virus, public health, crisis management, and ourselves. We continue to monitor the latest data and adjust our operations accordingly. With the risk of the virus apparently stabilized and the cold weather season winding down, we are excited to announce some changes:
- We will reopen our café on March 27. The space will be open to customers, and the cash register will be staffed daily from 8 am to 7 pm. We have painted the walls, replaced the furniture, and updated signage. We will relaunch our Art in the Café program in the coming months. You will also notice the addition of a handwashing sink; please do not use it for disposing of food or cleaning containers.
- We will continue offering our members Curbside Pick-Up but with a more limited schedule. Beginning March 27, pick-up times will be available on Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays between 1:30 pm and 6:30 pm, and orders must be placed by 8 pm the night prior.
We will also begin charging a $5 service fee to each order to help offset the additional expense of running the program; we are researching technical solutions to waive that fee for customers using EBT/SNAP benefits.
We started the curbside program in 2020 to provide safe access to our products. The program peaked in 2021 at approximately 6% of our total sales. As the pandemic risks have subsided, so has interest in the program, and our curbside sales now average less than 1% of overall sales. We will operate the program for at least six more weeks using the new parameters and then evaluate if this program is sustainable for our co-op.
- We will be removing the remaining plexiglass barriers at various service areas; these make communication more difficult in our busy store.
Recently we expanded our food bar service hours to 11 am–7 pm (along with breakfast sandwiches at 8am while supplies last) and deli service counter hours 10 am–2 pm daily. We are pleased to be again offering specialty hot drinks, including latté, cappuccino, espresso, chai latté, and hot chocolate, also 10 am–2 pm daily.
We recognize that not everyone will be comfortable with each of these changes, and we appreciate your feedback as we navigate this next phase. As we have repeatedly learned throughout the pandemic, patience, empathy, and kindness will keep our co-op community strong. I so appreciate what we have been able to achieve together.
See you at the Co-op,
Wondering about a patronage refund?
Most years our co-op distributes a patronage refund to our members from our taxable net income from the prior fiscal year. Since we did not generate taxable net income last year, there will not be a patronage refund distribution. A key reason for this was our decision to retire the renewable energy certificates associated with the two solar arrays we purchased last winter. Rather than sell those on the open market, we decided to retire them, meaning we are reducing the overall amount of carbon pollution in the world. The past year was a very good one for solar generation and our investment in solar has dramatically reduced our electricity expenses.