Dear Co-op Members.
If you have been following along, you know the Co-op is facing dire financial difficulties. We have been here before, as has every small business, and in order to come through it we need everyone on board.
Here is what the staff and Board of Directors are doing to immediately respond to the challenges we’re facing:
- The Board and Co-op management are working hard not to cut staff, and decided that no cuts would be made during the holiday season.
- A very dedicated member-owner agreed to work with the Co-op to do an analysis of staff roles to improve efficiency. That member-owner quickly realized it was more important to immediately improve the cash-flow of the Co-op through drastic cuts; not necessarily in staff, but cuts in every possible expense. There is currently a team of six dedicated member-owners working with General Manager Andy Peet to develop the cuts needed as well as some no-cost promotions for the rest of this year to increase cash flow. The overall goal is to save $3,000/week, and the working group has come up with around $2,000/week at this point.
- Staff are finding ways to increase sales, and have already come up with some productive approaches.
- The Board has tasked Andy with getting information on line-of-credit options the Co-op has to improve cash flow through this year.
- Board members voted to forgo their board discount for the next three months as a symbolic move of solidarity and support.
Here is what YOU, our dedicated member-owners, can do to help as the Co-op works toward financial stability:
- Most importantly, make the Co-op your first stop when shopping for the holidays! As the Letter from the Staff said, the best thing you can do to support the Co-op is to come in and shop.
- When shopping at the Co-op, pay by cash or check. You can also put money on account at the Co-op. These efforts will help save some of the over $1,000 in credit and debit card fees the Co-op pays each month.
- Join us for our community-building events, such as the 25th Annual Baking Fest on Sunday, December 4th.
- Volunteer in the store or on a Committee.
- Send us your ideas and input through this link.
- Like the Potsdam Food Co-op on Facebook or follow the Potsdamcoop on Instagram to learn about community events, new products and our current produce selection. Encourage others to follow us on social media as well.
The challenges the Co-op is facing are dire, and they were predicted. Over five years ago, then General Manager Eric Jesner showed the rising cost of running the business could not be supported by the current store. That is why our expansion is critical, and while we are working to save the Co-op, we are also continuing to determine how to expand the store, leveraging the $1.659 million awarded to the Co-op through the Downtown Revitalization Initiative. In the meantime, our new National Co+op Grocers membership will afford us some time with excellent pricing through our main distributor, UNFI, as well as other management tools we are accessing.
As a reminder, the Co-op has a set of Ends Policies. The Co-op exists so that:
- Everyone in our community has reliable access to local, organic, and healthy food.
- North Country farmers and producers have a stable, honest, and robust marketplace.
- Customers have a welcoming place to shop, interact, and participate at many levels.
- Community members have a model of environmentally respectful practices and cooperative ownership.
Through the pandemic, the board believed that when we were able to make that expansion/relocation a reality, we would be better placed to work harder on all of those items and have a bigger positive impact on our community. In order to get there, we have to make it through this year.
We wish you and yours a wonderful holiday season. See you soon at the Co-op!
The Potsdam Food Co-op Board of Directors