the co-op difference

Marketing Planning that Cuts Through the Clutter

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 [...]

Marketing Systems Revamp Lifts Sales

Ashland Food Co-op Ashland, OR Ashland Food Co-op in Ashland, OR is a successful food co-op in an artsy university town that also draws a lot of year-round tourists. The co-op is especially known for its outreach and popularity in the community. Recently, they faced a dilemma about this very thing. What should the co-op do when their dynamic and long-term marketing director retired? [...]

Leading Our Co-ops Beyond Customer Service to Cooperative Service

By Brittany Baird, Rebecca Torpie 194 Jan.-Feb. 2018 As food co-ops forge ahead in the “the new normal,” they often find themselves in the precarious place of trying to both differentiate from and conform to competitors. From the consistent progression of conventional grocery stores towards natural products offerings, to the growing threat of internet retailers, food co-ops are experiencing an increasingly urgent pressure to raise the [...]

Open Book Management: Now is the Time!

By Melanie Reid Co-ops continue to face an increasingly tough marketplace. Competition for employees is as tough as it is for food dollars. One strategy for attracting and retaining talented and passionate staff members is to build a culture of strong employee engagement. Open Book Management (OBM) has the potential to contribute to higher staff satisfaction, improved engagement, increased accountability, and strong communication. Inviting staff [...]

Measuring & Communicating the Co-op Difference

In a lot of ways our work speaks for itself.  The data supports an assertion that cooperation produces stronger happier communities, local economies, food systems and shoppers.   Bonnie Hudspeth, Neighboring Food Co-op Associations Manager of Member Programs, shares a ton of powerful data points about the impact that food co-ops have in the Northeast and points out opportunities that we can seize on to [...]

Implementing a Livable Wage in a Competitive Market

By Sarah Dahl, Lauren Olson 183 Mar-Apr 2016 Half of National Co+op Grocers member co-ops surveyed are under pressure to increase staff wages, according to a 2015 report. This pressure is not unique to co-ops. With efforts led by groups such as Fight for 15 and dialogues at local, state, and federal levels about minimum wage, there is a national spotlight on increasing wages. [...]

The Spirit of Generosity

By Bill Gessner 178 May-June 2015 The collective progress in collaboration that the food co-op sector has achieved over the past decade has been significant and inspiring. “Cooperation among cooperatives,” through the Cooperative Grocers Associations and other vehicles, is building a strong, powerful momentum. An underlying core value that has supported this collaboration, but has rarely been articulated or recognized, is a strong spirit [...]