Solutions

Guiding the Fundamentals of Co-op Business

By |2019-09-10T19:08:38+00:00April 10th, 2019|Improve Operations|

Seward Community Co-op Minneapolis, MN Year founded: 1972 Member investment: $75 Number of members: 20,000 Number of employees: 270 Locations: Franklin and Friendship grocery stores, cafe, production kitchen, administrative offices Ray Williams is Seward Community Co-op’s operations manager and recognizes that even though the co-op has achieved a lot over the years, especially in terms of growing its operations and diversifying staff and leadership, [...]

How Coaching Benefits You as a Leader

By |2019-09-10T19:08:06+00:00March 14th, 2019|Develop Your Leaders|

In a competitive economy with slim profit margins, hiring a consultant or a coach can feel like a luxury line item.  Yet feeling overtasked and having to do more with less is the perfect reason for hiring a coach.  Coaches can help leaders prioritize and focus their energies, leverage their skills, and learn new ways to respond to both interpersonal and marketplace demands.  In [...]

Leadership Development for Expansion Readiness

By |2019-09-10T19:08:25+00:00March 14th, 2019|Develop Your Leaders, Grow Your Business|

Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op Middlebury, VT Year founded: 1976 Member investment: $300 Number of members: 5,300 Number of employees: 85 Retail square feet: 9,000 The Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op is uniquely situated in small town Middlebury, Vermont. Rather than becoming one of those places that time forgot, it has maintained a vibrant community in a place known for its natural beauty and arts and [...]

Focus on Outreach During PR Crisis

By |2019-09-10T20:10:06+00:00January 9th, 2019|Improve Operations|

Nothing stings more than public criticism, and the longer it’s sustained, the more damaging it can be to an organization’s reputation. Especially when, despite everyone’s best intentions, something goes wrong, or people are upset about something. In today’s wired world, the opportunities for people to share their impressions online have grown exponentially, sometimes amplifying negative word of mouth. It can easily become a chronic [...]

Restoring Trust and Vibrancy in a Co-op Community

By |2019-09-10T20:10:24+00:00January 9th, 2019|Cultivate Your Community|

Central Co-op Seattle, WA Year founded: 1978 Number of members: 14,200 Consumer member investment: $100 Worker member investment: $6,340 (12 years) Number of employees: 120 Locations: Seattle and Tacoma (opening date late spring TBD) When the Central Co-op in Seattle, Wash. proposed a vote to merge with the Tacoma Food Co-op in 2015, the memberships of both co-ops overwhelmingly approved it. Both communities saw [...]

Perpetuating Board Leadership Through Co-op Storytelling

By |2019-09-10T20:10:14+00:00December 12th, 2018|Develop Your Leaders|

Board perpetuation is a perennial topic for boards. Turnover happens year to year as a cyclical part of board service. So, finding ways to maintain consistently strong governance needs to be a priority and continual task. Things can never stay exactly they as they are (or used to be), so how do boards keep positive momentum going? How do they individually and collectively share [...]

Expanding the Boundaries of Retailing in Local Communities

By |2019-09-09T16:05:05+00:00November 7th, 2018|Cultivate Your Community, Grow Your Business|

Contemporary food co-ops have begun important discussions in their organizations around equity and inclusion. As part of that process, they’ve had to accept and deal with some painful truths that their co-ops have not always been perceived as inclusive, especially through the shopping experience. Food co-op customers in particular are often skewed toward a certain demographic—white, educated, affluent people. Outreach to those who are [...]

Marketing Planning that Cuts Through the Clutter

By |2019-09-10T20:10:50+00:00October 10th, 2018|Improve Operations|

Retailers face lots of challenges, profit margins are small, inventory needs to turn, and the competition is fierce. Getting customers into the store and keeping them satisfied should be everyone’s focus to boost sales and enhance profitability. Retailers faced with flat or declining sales need to take a closer look at their marketing and customer service experience. Since food co-ops are owned by the [...]

Using Monitoring Reports to Ensure Organizational Alignment

By |2019-09-09T15:43:39+00:00September 12th, 2018|Develop Your Leaders|

The Board’s Job Creating board policies is no easy task. Clearly articulating the board’s expectations of a general manager takes a lot of energy and focus—so boards can justifiably congratulate themselves once they’ve written down their expectations in a way that a manager can easily understand. But the board’s work doesn’t end there. Many boards, once they’ve created their policies and learned to empower—rather [...]

Gain Sales and Impact from Great Storytelling

By |2019-09-09T15:41:11+00:00August 3rd, 2018|Improve Operations|

Local food is a powerful branding force in grocery retailing. The huge shift in mainstream consumer demand regarding fresh, healthful eating and a desire to know where food comes from has changed how food is marketed and merchandised. Concurrent with the rise of “local” food, online retailing has changed how people buy food. It’s not enough to say its geographic origin. It’s not enough [...]