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 hope to accomplish—and they are what makes us different from a regular grocery store. We publish these reports as a blog to keep our member-owners up to date on what we are doing.

The reports are organized by our five Ends, although not all are 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.

September 2017 GM Report

Market of Choice

Our member open house on the expansion on Tuesday, August 22, was well attended. We got some very positive feedback from members, plus some good suggestions for possible changes to consider. Materials from that meeting are (mostly) available in the store and on our web site. The most challenging item to post is the floor plan as it is still preliminary and keeps evolving. As soon as we settle on some key points, we will post it in the store.

In January we changed our policy to allow everyone to shop at the Co-op with the same pricing. Interestingly, in the past few years our sales to members has been trending upwards and this has continued in spite of the change—from 86.64% in 2014 to 88.10% in the first half of 2017. While we have seen a 25% decrease in the number of new members signing up, which reflects our expectations, the number of active members is slightly increasing, as is the CI (Capital Investments) so far this year.

Food System Development

Shoppers will now be able to see their contributions to the local economy every time they shop. Starting in October, our cash receipts will reflect the amount of dollars spent on local items with each trip through the register. There will be a few limitations:  for instance, produce items can switch from local to organic—or vice versa—within a single day, and it may take our system 24 hours to catch up.

Our Finnriver fresh blueberry sales are up 25% over last year.  We have sold almost 5,000 pounds of their fresh berries so far this year!  And in the last month, we have brought in four new local products, expanding the lines of Bell Street Bakery, Short’s Family Farm, and Propolis Brewing. We also expanded our local Washington products by six items.

LandWorks Collaborative news:  Ecotrust Forest Management, which owns the protected Chimacum Ridge forest, is working with the Jefferson Land Trust to develop sustainable forest products. Some parcels are being thinned with the wood going to local mills. Essential oils from this local forest are an exciting potential opportunity for the Co-op. Ecotrust is working with a local business to distill and package the essential oils, which we could then sell. However, it’s in the very early stages of development, so I don’t have a timeline to share.

Building Internal Capacity

We implemented an employee engagement survey during the second half of September. At the same time that we surveyed staff, we trained them in our updated time clock system. In place for five years, the time clock is a great asset, but the software was recently upgraded, requiring a significant change in procedure.

On August 13, we held three staff meetings to share our plans for the expansion and remodel. The staff really appreciated being able to review our plans and they had some good feedback that I have been working on incorporating into the plan. The week after the meetings, I held four “open office” times to enable staff time to dig a little deeper into the proposed changes, to ask questions, and to offer solutions. Thankfully, we are getting closer to settling on how we will do our work in the new space!

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