Monthly Archives: January 2016

Complaints and Operational Concerns: How Directors Can Respond Effectively

By Michael Healy 182 January-February 2016 As a director, you may notice or hear things about your co-op that may be cause for concern—or are at least worth asking about. How can you respond in a way that honors your sense of responsibility, your board’s clear delegation to the general manager (GM), and your GM’s professional judgment? Here is an approach that opens a [...]

Membership Growth Strategies for Startups: Common Features of Success

By Ben Sandel 182 January-February 2016 Gaining members quickly and efficiently is a major hurdle for most startup co-ops. A co-op is selling a dream when it has no store, minimal (if any) staff, and, when organizing in areas that don’t have other food co-ops, no credible examples to refer to. This can make membership growth slow and painful. Nevertheless, some startups have had [...]

GM Success Profile

Increasingly intense and sustained competition in our market is shifting the landscape in which co-ops operate, putting a premium on certain key competencies and skills in management. At the same time, other factors are making the GM job more complex and demanding, including: pressure on prices and margin, increasing costs of real estate and development, and calls for a living wage at a time [...]

Marketplace Overview and the ‘New Normal’

For the first time since chain natural food stores rose to prominence in the 1990s, natural food grocery stores have lost market share to conventional competition.  The golden era of runaway growth for natural food grocers may become a thing of the past as a variety of competitors have figured out how to effectively sell and merchandise “natural.”  This puts enormous pressure on both [...]