|GM REPORT: How We Doin'?|
I mentioned last month that I had been working on a report card, of sorts, of how we have been doing in reaching our Ends, the most global goals for our Co-op set by our board. I mentioned that early analysis was very promising on the price comparison front, and that I was heartened with the work that our buyers had been doing to address prices in our store.
I would like to share another set of data with you. We looked at some common products with other grocery stores, sometimes a difficult thing to do since we have trouble comparing apples to apples when we focus on particular qualitative attributes in our product line (like antibiotic-free, or organic), but even so, here is what we found this year.
We know we’ve been publishing much more aggressive sales and lower-priced basic foods offerings, but here we can see, over multiple products in a shopping basket at an everyday price, that we really have made some significant progress with value pricing. And for the Senior Discount folks who have switched over to the “Elder” status, to receive 8% off seven days a week, these improved shopping carts apply to you as well! Thank you for making the switch to enable us to manage our discount budget a tiny bit more equitably. And when you combine all this with your choice to purchase at your Co-op, you are also contributing considerably more of your dollar to our community. Your Brattleboro Food Co-op returns 36-37% of its budget to our community.
This includes $3.1 million in local product (which does not currently include products made in our kitchen), wages of about $4 million, and $132,000 in town taxes. And despite that we had to reduce the amount of cash donations we gave last year, the Co-op and Dottie’s provided nearly $30,000 in in-kind and other contributions, including the Bag-a-Bean program, NOFA Share the Harvest, Empty Bowls, and many more. Speaking of community effect, more than 2,000 people have been part of classes, trainings, and cooking experiences both in the Co-op’s Cooking Classroom and in the local schools through our Education and Outreach program. We are continuing to develop rich relationships with collaborators in food nutrition and access to reach more and more folks eager to learn new stuff. We appreciate our community partners so much in helping us meet the needs of our town.
As I have been reminded more times than I can count recently, we are in this for the long haul. Again, we strive to balance the economic needs of our shoppers, the economic needs of our staff, and the economic needs of our farmers and producers, all while working hard to improve the health and sustainability of our community. In any given moment, someone may feel that we are not doing enough for ______ (fill in the blank). That may be true. But we continue to work towards being a better cooperative, a better community partner, and a better employer virtually every minute of every day, in the manner of a marathon, not a sprint.