PT Food Co-op

The Food Co-op, 414 Kearney Street, Port Townsend, 98368
Port Townsend
Phone: (360) 385-2883

General Manager’s Blog

by Kenna S. Eaton

Each month, I report to the board on how we are progressing on our long-term goals, which we call our Ends. These Ends reflect our aspirations, what we want to accomplish, and they are what makes us different from a regular grocery store. The reports are organized by our five Ends, although all the Ends may not be discussed in every report. Our Ends say that, as a result of all we do —

  • We will be the market of choice for our community to access local, organic, and non-GMO products.
  • A vibrant local and regional food system will provide our community with a year-round supply of food sold at prices that are fair to both consumers and producers.
  • We will have an engaged staff and board that use their expanding knowledge and skills to create a thriving workplace.
  • Our operations will be environmentally sustainable for the benefit of our members, community, and the planet.
  • Our members will be knowledgeable about the products they consume, the connection between food choices and personal health, and environmentally sustainable practices.

June 2017 GM Report

Market of Choice

Co+Op Basics—our program that provides a variety of foods at the lowest possible cost to all shoppers—continues to grow in popularity as we add new items to the mix, including frozen organic blueberries, frozen ground turkey, and summer beverages: Lemonade, Recharge, and Aqua Fresca.

Local Food

Following on the heels of our staff “local cultivators” meeting earlier this spring, we have been seeing more demos of local products in the store, more local products showcased at our morning meetings, and more local produce in the hot bar. And this quarter we added two new local vendors:

  • PT Chocolate—Seven flavors of handmade chocolates
  • Lioness Organics—Four powdered herbal beverages

Additionally, we have added over 25 new local items from existing vendors, including Camaraderie Wines and Bell St. Baker, plus a new regional vendor, C & G Wines, which distributes Dragon Head Cider from Vashon Island.

Internal Capacity

Co-op Principle #6 is “Cooperation Amongst Co-ops,” and in May I attended a “peer audit” of one of the newest members of the National Cooperative Grocers (NCG)—SLO natural foods. SLO has been in existence for over 40 years but only recently joined the NCG, our national co-op of food co-ops. This audit—where co-op general managers and other co-op professionals visit a co-op in order to give feedback and advice—was an opportunity for us to get to know one another better, to learn about the store, meet their GM, and hear about their challenges. It was a time to share resources, build relationships, and dig a little deeper into the inner workings of one of our tribe. Hopefully, the feedback we offered was useful—and, as usual, I came away with ideas about what we how we improve our Co-op.

We love it when we can promote our staff into positions of more responsibility, and this month we have two such changes:  Dominic, formerly a float, is now Assistant Team Leader in the grocery department, and Rene, who was a grocery stocker, is now a Wellness clerk. Another change: Ian, our Marketing Manager, resigned, so until we are able to fill that position, I will be acting as marketing manager with the help of the marketing assistant, Mark.

Our big news this month was the visit from the company that awarded Laura Llewellyn “Produce Manager of The Year”! We’ve been so proud of our produce team and the work they’ve accomplished this past year—all led by Laura—that we nominated Laura for the award (actually Marcia, as her manager, did the work). While we know how hard our team works and how awesome our produce department is, we were thrilled that the organizations sponsoring this award, Dole Food Company and United Fresh, agreed with us and selected Laura as one of their 2017 Top 25 Retail Produce Managers in the country.

And by the way, the team that visited our store to give Laura her award and take photos was very impressed with both the produce department and the whole store. In June, Laura and Deb will travel to Chicago to accept the award—and find out if Laura was selected as one of the five grand prize winners (fingers crossed).

Sustainability

The staff green team, “SURF,” has been busy conducting more waste audits as well as teaching their peers about recycling, both at the Co-op and in Jefferson County. Each waste audit is basically a snapshot of what we find in the dumpster that day. We take out every bag, open it up, sort it, weigh it, and then re-bag it all. Super fun—well, mostly. Every so often there is some rather horrible thing in there. While the majority of what goes to the landfill is truly non-recyclable trash, we are interested in monitoring trends. Contaminated paper (non-recyclable in Jeff Co) is holding steady at about 35% by weight, but our plastic has dropped from 27% to 21% of our total waste, due we think, to our new opportunity to collect non-contaminated plastic to recycle into Trex. We’re also adding new signage to the dining room to help customers and staff become better recyclers and pig feeders.

And in case you missed it, we had a great turnout in late April for the beach cleanup, in spite of the funky weather. Over 128 people volunteered to pick up 776 pounds of trash and recyclables from beaches all around the area.

Outreach & Education

We were excited to hear we had won a “Public Health Hero Award” for our ABC Club (a free apple, banana, or carrot for each school-age child of a member-owner while shopping at the Co-op). The award cited us for “contributions in making our community a healthier place to live.”

Sidonie’s cooking classes continue to have a good following, and we’re receiving positive comments from those taking the classes. Sidonie taught “French Farmhouse Cooking” in May and “Culinaria Italy” in June.

The marketing team has been busy preparing materials for board elections, the annual report, and the annual general meeting, which took place in May and early June. And the Product Research Committee (PRC) is still working on developing a system for revisiting existing boycotts and hopes to have a proposal ready for the board soon.

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