A Letter from the Staff
To our valued Member-Owners,
As many of you know, the Board sent out an email to the membership back in August with an update on the Co-op’s financial situation, as well as our relocation efforts. While we have since decided to turn our focus from relocation to rebuilding and expanding, we still face serious challenges as we continue to operate in our small store. We know that the Co-op means a lot to our membership, and it is equally important to us that we keep you all informed, not only of our future plans, but our present struggles.
It’s not surprising that COVID-19 had an impact on our business. In 2020, with so much uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, we made the decision to close the store for curbside shopping only. We felt it was the best way to protect our staff and vulnerable community members. Our sales took a major hit and when we reopened for in-store shopping, they never quite returned to their pre-pandemic levels. Price increases and supply issues made keeping the store stocked with affordable products more difficult than ever. Our largest supplier (UNFI) lowered our volume discount at the start of 2021, which resulted in the Co-op having to raise retail prices on many of our products to maintain our margins. The pandemic changed a lot for everyone. Many small businesses had to close their doors and people had to adjust to a new way of living, which for some, included changing the way they shop. The Co-op has a strong community behind it, but we are not immune.
To ensure the Co-op’s success, we must increase our income. To do this, we are working on implementing numerous changes within our operations to increase our sales. For the first time in six years, we have raised the prices on our homemade breads and soups. We did not come to that decision lightly, but it was necessary to cover our increased costs of ingredients and labor. At the same time, we are doing everything we can to continue to offer a unique product selection, and competitive pricing with member sales and deep discounts through our Buying Club. We also recently became members of the Co-operative organization, National Co+op Grocers, and are working with them to deliver better everyday pricing on many of our grocery products in the coming months.
The Co-op needs your continued support! Here are some ways you can help us:
- Shop at the Co-op whenever possible. Remember YOU OWN IT! and every dollar you spend here is invested back into your Co-op, your community, and our local farmers/vendors.
- If you are looking to host an event, want to celebrate someone or something, or have a craving, don’t forget about our Carriage House Bakery & Deli. Special orders are always welcome and encouraged!
- Work at the Co-op for a discount! Working members can help us reduce our labor costs and run our store more efficiently.
- If you have a specific skill that you think would be useful to the Co-op, consider joining our Board or a Committee.
- Round Up at checkout to help the Co-op rebuild and expand on our current property.
- Talk about the Co-op with your friends, family, and acquaintances. The more people that know about our store and what it means for our community, the better!
We want you to know that we love our Co-op and appreciate all of you. We know the Co-op can and will succeed if we all work together to make it happen.
The Potsdam Food Co-op Staff