Summers at the co-op are usually a slower time of the year for us, but that has not been the case this year. Our sales remain robust, which is likely due to fewer farmers’ markets and our increase in membership.
I want to take this opportunity to send out much appreciation and love to our staff. Each of our staff has worked tirelessly through the pandemic, and there are no signs of the work stopping or slowing down. Tensions have been high through this new and challenging time; what was once a simple trip to get groceries is now much more stressful. Our staff have kept smiley-eyes on their faces through it all and have made sure that our shelves are stocked and our checkout lanes are efficient. It has not been easy work, and I have such gratitude for every minute of work they put into keeping our co-op running smoothly.
We have continued to pay our staff what I like to call “Appreciation-Hero pay” of $2.22 per hour worked through July. We also chose to close the store on August 18th and paid everyone for eight hours as a staff holiday. Additionally, we rented Millie’s Ice Cream truck for our staff and offered them an all-you-can-eat summer treat at the end of August. These are small ways to acknowledge our team, so they know just how much we appreciate them and their hard work.
Our Bulk Department is almost up to its normal capacity. In July, we swapped out most of our scoop-style bulk bins and replaced them with gravity bins. We are working to get our product mix back to normal. Our AquaVitea Kombucha tap is back up and running, so be sure to check it out the next time you are in the store. We still cannot allow outside containers for bulk or kombucha, but we have some newer container options to help transport liquids from the store to your home.
The Café has been busy working on new options, including additional salads, sandwiches, and café drinks in the grab n’ go cooler! We are looking for ways to bring back hot soups, and are considering introducing personal pizzas and hot sandwiches. And of course, you can count on the Café to help make your Thanksgiving holiday easy and delicious with their housemade vegan and vegetarian dishes.
Holiday planning is in full effect, and we are working to ensure we have everything for your holiday needs. We anticipate there will be more small family gatherings and many more new cooks in the kitchen this Thanksgiving. There will be more small-to-medium-sized turkeys available at the co-op this year to accommodate that. Redemption Farms in Elizabeth, PA, is also raising 75 turkeys for us. Be on the lookout for pre-order forms to reserve your holiday turkey and order delicious housemade Co-op Café items.