Write Us!
We welcome your comments and give each one attention and serious consideration. Send them to or fill out a Customer Comment form in the Owner Resources area. Each month a small selection is printed in the Reader. The rest can be found in the commons or in the binder near Customer Service. Thank you!
Write Us!
We welcome your comments and give each one attention and serious consideration. Send them to or fill out a Customer Comment form in the Owner Resources area. Each month a small selection is printed in the Reader. The rest can be found in the commons or in the binder near Customer Service. Thank you!

Q: The dried fruits and nuts have always been tied with adhesive tape. When I take the tape off to open the bag, it often rips the bag and I close the bag with a twisty. Have you considered using twisties or something similar that is reusable? P.S. I’ve been thinking of asking this for about 20 years!

A: Thank you for asking this question. It’s a good one. The Willy Pack bags are closed with a non-reusable tape to prevent tampering. If we used a twist tie without a secondary non-reusable seal, we would be in violation of health codes. I’m sorry to say we cannot make the change you suggested. Thanks again! –Jim Green, Bulk Buyer–East

Q: Most of the time I notice only one variety of bananas for sale, but occasionally you’ll stock other varieties such as red bananas.What considerations decide which varieties to stock?

A: Considerations include: product availability, quality of product, Owner values, and sales. We did offer the red banana for years, however most of what we purchased ended up as compost. Thanks for the comment. –Andy Johnston, Produce Manager–East

Q: Love the deli—the food is so good! Aren’t there hairnet-wearing requirements for deli workers? My server today was friendly and helpful but her long hair was falling over her face and potentially falling into my sandwich. Also, it doesn’t seem like deli workers are consistently paying attention to the “eat here” box at the bottom of the order form. Workers generally make sandwiches to-go regardless of what I mark on the form.

A: I am happy to hear you love our Deli! The requirement, according to our health inspector and information that I have dug up in our service manuals and Wisconsin health code, is that the requirement is to wear a hat or hair restraints. Pulling one’s hair back (ponytail or bun) is also considered a restraint. With that said, I will make sure to reiterate to our staff that all hair needs to be pulled back. I will also remind the staff to keep a closer eye on the sandwich menu notes. Thanks for the feedback. –Gina Jimenez-Lalor, Deli Manager–East

Four Star returns at West
Q: The folks at Four Star Video rental told me Willy East now has a dropbox for return of their rented DVDs. I frequent only Willy West. Please consider adding the same service at Willy West. It would be a great convenience.

A: I will look into this idea but given that we do not own the Willy West site there is more process involved in making this happen there, unlike at Willy East where the Co-op is the owner of the property. Thanks for the suggestion. -Wynston Estis, Operations Manager

Deli containers
Q: Greetings, I am wondering if you all have considered sourcing a different type of take-away container for the deli/buffet. I am sitting here finishing my container of quinoa salad, and all the little knobby/extruded parts of the container make it nearly impossible to scoop the last spoonful of quinoa out of the container. This is the same problem when I get any kind of salad or dish that has lots of little bits that get stuck in the crevices.

A: Thanks for emailing. I understand your concern with our packaging. Over the years we have changed our packaging for varying reasons, trying to find one that best suits our needs and our Owner’s needs. Our current packaging is a recyclable plastic. We are currently in the process of sourcing a new distributor for our packaging and will keep your concerns in mind when looking over the product selection. Best, Gina Jimenez-Lalor, Deli Manager–East

Beneficial bugs
Q: I bought Lacinato Kale the other day. Kid you not; there was a frozen caterpillar-like bug in it.

A: Thank you for your comment! Our organic Lacinato Kale was grown without the use of pesticides—healthier for you, the environment, and that little caterpillar! Many organic farmers use beneficial insects to deal with pests, so we occasionally see a variety of moths, caterpillars, and ladybugs on our greens and lettuces. During the warmer months, you may even spot a produce employee setting these beneficial insects free into the garden area outside. We here in the Willy Street Co-op Produce Department see the occasional insect as a positive! We certainly do recommend washing all of your produce thoroughly to avoid consuming one of these beneficial critters. I hope that helps address your concern! Thanks again for writing. -Brandy Schroeder, Assistant Produce Manager–West

In-store cameras
Q: Hi. I see in Anya’s column that there are surveillance cameras in use at Willy West. Are there signs posted saying that? Maybe I’ve missed them. Posting signs is a nice courtesy to those whose every move is being recorded, and helps give the cameras a deterrent effect for shoplifters. Thanks.

A: Thank you for your question! Indeed we do have signs posted at Willy West regarding video surveillance. The first one you will see is posted on the front entry door. Additionally, the cameras themselves are not covert—take a look above-and-to-the-left of the Customer Service desk during your next visit. Please let me know if you have any further questions. Best Regards, James Phetteplace, Information Systems Manager

Deli Menus
Q: Hello there, first let me say that I LOVE the store and I am so happy to live near by! I also love the hot box but I do have one wish :). Within the Vegan/Vegetarian section, would it be possible to change the menu once in a while. Perhaps have more of the soul foods such as vegan mashed potatoes, gravy, meatloaf, etc. I would come every day if there was more variety.

A: Thanks for writing! I’m so glad you love the store. Thank you for voicing your want of more variety on the hot bar vegan/vegetarian side. We are working on having more variety on the hot bar. We do have 12 options every day that rotate throughout the week with different dishes so there are at least 24 options throughout the week. However we are always looking for new dishes and tasty additions to our hot bar. We will work on getting the vegan mashed potatoes and vegan gravy out there more often. I’m not sure exactly what you mean by vegan meatloaf but we are always open to suggestions. -Bill Pohlman, Deli Manager–West

Wet vegetables
Q: Lots of people don’t like the leafy green vegetables getting wet. They don’t keep well in the fridge at home. Can you not spray them in the counter? Thank you!

A: Thanks for the comment! In order to keep our green leafy vegetables from getting limp and dehydrated, we have to keep them under the misters. Otherwise the refrigeration blowing over them would cause them to wilt. If you’d like lettuce that isn’t so wet, we can always get it for you from the backstock. Thanks again! –Megan Blodgett-Minnick, Produce Manager–West

Product selection
Q: Why are gluten-free products taking over the store?

A: Being a consumer cooperative, we carry the demands of our Owners. For some people, eating gluten is not an option, as they are allergic or intolerant. We meet their needs just as we’d meet folks with a nut or dairy allergy. Others choose not to eat gluten for one reason or another. There are innovative new food items coming out that contain gluten alternatives. That said, the majority of baked goods, pastas, etc. that we carry contain gluten. We’ll continually strive to carry a wide selection of products that satisfy our Owner’s dietary needs. Thanks for your comment! –Melissa Reiss, Purchasing Assistant

You rock
Q: Again, Willy Street Co-op has given me a wonderful 2012 with great products and even great customer/member services. You’ve truly enhanced the year of the cooperative in endless ways. I thank you from the bottom of my heart and look forward to more. As always, you rock!!

A: Thank you! Glad to hear from you and I’ll be sure to share this with the rest of our staff. –Lynn Olson, Director of Cooperative Services

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