Cooperative Grocer

The Wheatsville Way: A System for Better Workplace Accountability

It’s hard to create a positive workplace culture, and it seems to be even more difficult to understand how holding staff accountable to standards of internal service, hard work, and cooperation actually make a workplace better. At Wheatsville Co-op in Austin, Texas, we’ve developed a system that builds organizational alignment, [...]

The Art of Successful Sampling

A great sampling program goes beyond the tired cliché of weekend trips to cavernous big box stores where customers roam the aisles gobbling up random bites. Having a well-designed sampling program can be a strong draw for shoppers, give a delightful experience, and immediately impact sales. Getting the most out [...]

Cross-Training to Achieve Operational Efficiencies

We’ve been in the “new normal” long enough to not call it “new” anymore. Despite pressure from competition and rising minimum and livable wages, co-ops continue to work to be the employer of choice in their communities and to offer great compensation packages. We all know efficiencies are the main [...]

Preparing for the Launch of Columinate: CDS Consulting Co-op Rebrand

Like many of the established cooperatives and organizations we work with, our relationships go back almost a generation. We have been thrilled to be part of so many remarkable transformations in our sector over the years. Every day we’ve supported people as they have made important changes to their work [...]

It Doesn’t Have to Be Lonely at the Top

When I became general manager of Outpost Natural Foods in 1986, I had already been working at the co-op for seven years doing ordering, receiving, merchandising, marketing, managing, and assisting the general manager (GM) with board work. So naturally that made me the prime candidate for the GM job, since [...]

Deliberative Improvements: Facilitation Techniques for Meeting Success

From a director’s perspective, what are the core ingredients of a great board meeting? Starting and ending on time probably top the list for most people, followed closely by everybody arriving prepared to do work that’s worth doing. A bit of dinner or at least a communal bar or two [...]

Deepening the Work of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

By LaDonna Sanders–Redmond PDF download of article:  198_redmond-sanders_diversity_seward_co-op_sept-oct_2018 Seward Community Co-op (Minneapolis, Minn.) began its equity work in the fall of 2013. Seward’s second store, Friendship, and its first restaurant/commissary production facility, the Creamery Café, both opened in 2015. Building the Friendship Store in an historically African-American community required taking a [...]

Key Players in Store Remodels: Navigating the Remodel Process

By Nicole Klimek, P.J. Hoffman 196 May-June 2018 Like the simpler store reset, a store remodel may bring a new format, new fixtures, and new merchandising to the retail area. But a major difference is that a remodel involves construction and usually a fresh interior design—flooring, lighting, wall finishes, decor, branding, and [...]

Using Marketing to Build Success: Making Cooperative Ownership and Governance Real

By Rebecca Torpie, Thane Joyal 196 May-June 2018 What does it mean to be an owner of a consumer cooperative? At the most fundamental level, cooperative ownership means that we are in business together. And for the owners of a cooperative that is under substantial market pressure (and what business isn’t?), everything [...]

Strengthening Co-op Elections: How Boards are Ensuring that Members Can Vote for Excellent Candidates

In her book Democracy’s Edge, Frances Moore Lappe makes a strong case that a healthy democracy is about much more than elections and voting. Even so, board elections are still a particularly important and visible part of cooperative governance. A successful board election includes at least two critical elements: enough [...]