At the Co-op, this time of year is always both exhilarating and exhausting. I always say that a true retailer revels in this craziness: people enjoying thinking about food, looking for interesting products, planning events with family and community, and bubbling over in the aisles with joy—and with stress. This year, overlay all that with the pandemic situation, which as I write this is currently hinting at surging, and the balance between joy and stress shifts a little.
As we have said, we are trying to figure out all the ways to ease the various challenges of this holiday season. We will be broadcasting those opportunities, from expanded store hours to online shopping slots, in whatever ways we can. Please inquire if you have any questions. In the meantime, we will continue to ask you to be thoughtful about your shopping trips. Make lists, be efficient in the store, consider ordering some of the basics that don’t need to be hand-picked online to reduce your time physically shopping.
We will have prepared dinners in various portion sizes for small groups, and lots of options of all sizes throughout the store to prepare special feasts for smaller, more frequent gatherings. We will strive to keep floor areas clear of obstacles, a real challenge in this season, and will continue to monitor the number of shoppers accessing the store at the front door. We will work to make the checking out process more manageable since there will inevitably be some waiting in line, so look for those floor markings and bring your patience.
We also ask you to consider all of the folks in town who are struggling this year. As part of our tradition of serving a meal (in this case, to pick up on your way home to attend the virtual Annual Meeting), we are making another meal to deliver to Groundworks to distribute, perhaps in relation to their Thanksgiving celebration. We are stepping up our support of local organizations who are supporting so many services to this insecure population, and invite you to do the same.
And we will continue to integrate Dottie’s products into our main store selections, identified by Dottie’s signage. New inexpensive options in 52 categories are being incorporated over the next month or so into our product set for your value-seeking needs, from eggs to fish sticks. Again, despite the jarring nature of this change, I am committed to our meeting many of the needs of the Dottie’s shopper in the main store, despite the closing of the Flat Street store. Our hope is that we can better serve our entire community for years to come by consolidating our business.
And speaking of considering everyone, If you are a BFC shareholder, I hope you are attending the virtual BFC Annual Meeting for our owners this Wednesday, November 11. Please drop us an email at email@example.com to register for your meal and your link. I haven’t been this excited for an Annual Meeting in years! We have John Hughes’ beautiful music settling us in, and after our business meeting segment, we welcome Tabitha Pohl-Moore who will lead us through some thoughtful group communication about your definitions of “welcoming community marketplace.” There will be some fun interactive activities and, as always, time for questions. Join us!
As always, hoping to see you in the aisles!
By Sabine Rhyne, General Manager