PT Food Co-op

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

General Manager’s Blog – May 2018

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.

May 2018 GM Report

Market of Choice

This month, it’s all about EXPANSION. Our ground breaking the week of April 16 went well. While a large portion of the parking lot was closed for the excavation crew that week, we quickly reopened much of that area for parking and began the actual construction work. We will continue posting updates to staff, the board, and our members as often as we can.

This month I asked the managers to share any stories they have about our expansion. Jacqui, our Wellness manager, said, “Last week a customer was concerned about the remodel of Wellness. She stated, ‘Being so close to the food is not a good idea.’ She also added that smells, especially lavender, give her headaches. I was able to show her the projected floor plan posted in the Alcove and explained that personal care will be placed in the former entrance (South Door). Our customer was so thrilled that personal care would not be adjacent to the center of the store and produce. She left happy and heard.”

Tracy, our kitchen manager, told me: “The digging in is exciting to staff and customers. During the initial start-up, I noticed everyone trying to get a glimpse of the machine at work. We have stayed steady with sales and, hopefully, this will continue once the construction starts on the inside as well.”

David, our Front End manager, passed this on: “Over the past week, several of the staff in the Front End-Member Services Desk area have had customers ask informed questions about the remodel. People seem excited, curious, and a little nervous—just like all of us. The big positive is that they are asking questions based off the informational materials we have put out. To us, this shows great success, and something we need to make sure we keep up with.”

Food System Development

Our produce manager, Laura, gave an update on the Eat Local First (ELF) campaign task force. They’ve written a mission statement: “The Eat Local First campaign strengthens Olympic Peninsula farms and producers by engaging the community through education, promotion, and access to build a diverse and vibrant local food economy.” Laura said the next steps for ELF are expanding upon the mission, reaching out to folks to be on the steering committee, and developing an overall timeline for the campaign.

The produce department at the Co-op has started carrying compostable bags (by the half-price section). Staff and volunteer members are conducting some home research to see whether or not they really do compost in home compost piles. As these bags cost us five times as much as regular plastic, to commit to using them throughout the store without knowing how well they compost seems premature. Stay tuned for updates.

Local sales have started on their yearly upswing. In addition, sales data shows that we didn’t dip as low this winter! Deb, our inventory manager, explained that the weather was better this year, so we had local greens available most of the time. Plus, in the past month, we brought in six new local items, all extensions of existing lines. How about some Mystery Bay lemon rosemary chevre on Bell St. sun dried tomato bread? We brought in nine new regional items, including Callahan’s hot sauces, and two additional gluten-free Stark Raving pizzas, made in Everett. The deli purchased 10+ cases of Nash’s purple sprouting broccoli (PSB) during February and March. We featured PSB in the deli case and the hot bar at different times during the month. We also hosted a demo (thanks to our board member Lisa and Organic Seed Alliance board member Amy), showing shoppers how tasty and easy to prepare PSB is.

We featured 27 bulk cereal and granolas on sale for 10% off during the weekend of April 6-8. Both quantity purchased and sales were up by 60% compared to the previous week.

Sustainability

We held a “Lunch and Learn” workshop in mid-April on how to reduce the use of plastics in the home. Eighteen people signed up and even more attended—28 people—this free class taught by members of the Local 20/20 Beyond Waste crew.

Education, Outreach, and Advocacy

Olympic Cooperative Network update: Worker Co-op Bootcamp classes started Tuesday, April 24, at Chimacum Grange and will run through June 26 for ten weeks. We ended up with about five groups: marine trade, Port Angles Food Coop, herb growers, and two housing groups. Eighteen people attended the first session. We’re super excited to help grow cooperatives in our region and we look forward to seeing similar workshops in the future.

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