In July, the Brattleboro Food Co-op will head resolutely into Year Three in the new facility! It marks a pivotal year in which gradual, consistent growth will settle the Co-op firmly back into its accustomed financial strength—those of you who have been following the Redevelopment Project are familiar with the challenges that BFC has faced. In this month’s article you will learn how we plan to reach our goal, and how you can help us get there.
First Step—Excellent Customer Service
The person-to-person interactions are the most visible aspects, but having the right products, dependably in stock and correctly priced, are of equal importance in providing excellent customer service. Employee committees are already beginning to work on growing a culture of service by designing more effective training programs, while other department teams will be evaluating product lines to ensure appropriate assortment, quality, and selection, presenting a variety of price levels when possible.
Professional Development—A Key Ingredient
We intend to take full advantage of professional development programs offered by our National Cooperative Grocers Association. We were greatly encouraged by the successful training we received in Open Book Management last year through a grant from the State of Vermont. Now into its second year, Open Book Management continues to foster increased staff involvement in our business through understanding, knowledge, and meaningful participation.
Information Systems—Foundation for Satisfying Service
Behind the daily hustle and bustle of the store, there are many support systems. Critical data management underlies smooth checkout—information must be accurate, or no matter how well a shopper has filled his or her shopping list, register snafus can neutralize an otherwise satisfying experience. Our I.T. folks are planning upgrades, building on an already highly effective program.
It is unfortunate that this next comment merits a mention: Shoplifting is a constant challenge. Therefore our security systems, too, will be honed in the coming year. How to minimize this unconscionable, parasitic activity, to monitor and reduce losses, and deal with shoplifters is an unpleasant but necessary undertaking.
The preceding commentary is of necessity a huge oversimplification—our annual business plan describes in much greater detail the departmental game plans and budgets, as well as current market conditions—these subjects are not of great practical use to you as a
Co-op owner and shopper, yet your role in BFC’s success is no less vital.
• Park in our lot only when shopping.
• Keep an eye out for shoplifters and let a staff person know if you see it happening.
• Offer your expertise—if you have professional skills that will help us improve, let us know!
• Share your thoughts—we have feedback boxes in a number of locations throughout the store: we need your product suggestions and service complaints; but best of all…
• Tell us when we do it right! Appreciation goes a long way to inspire further success.
Thank you! Here’s to another amazing twelve months!
802 257-0236 x801