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!

Bag credits
Q: How much money would the Co-op lose if there were no minimum on the # of items one must purchase in order to get a bag credit—currently set at more than 3 items. It’s not fair to put cashiers in the position of being “The Deciders” on whether the person’s items (if 3 or less) warrant a bag.

A: Thank you for taking the time to write. Currently, new paper bags cost us 10 cents a piece versus paying customers 5 cents for every paper bag they reuse; likewise, we offer 10 cents for every canvas bag that a customer uses. When the reusable bag incentive program was instituted in 2005, we felt that it would keep our supply costs low while encouraging customers to take advantage of the benefits of bringing their own reusable bags.

Co-op Services, in conjunction with our Finance department, determined that to make the program measurable and sustainable, the following parameters had to be: “A bag must be reasonably full before you can use a second bag (e.g. to receive the credit). Purchases under $3 are not eligible for reimbursement.”

While it may not seem fair to put cashiers in the position of deciding what constitutes “reasonably full,” they are ultimately the ones who must apply the credit when you check out. We do offer them a certain amount of latitude and expect that they use sound judgment in making this call. For example, a few larger/heavier items in one bag may qualify for the credit. Five small items bagged into five different bags would not qualify for five bag credits.
As always, we will continue to evaluate our bag incentive program and welcome any constructive feedback and/or suggestions. Thanks! -Jesse Thurber, Assistant Front End Manager–East

Bathroom walls
Q: Half a day’s painting in the women’s restroom would be lovely. Too bad Co-op can’t use volunteers anymore—it’d be a great job for vols!

A: Thanks for the reminder! This project sort of fell off the list. We had talked about installing a different wall material and then there was talk of the restrooms being torn out and moved during remodeling. Thanks to Vanessa and Caitlyn, there are now fresh coats of paint on the walls in the women’s restroom! -Jim Jirous, Maintenance Manager–East

Meal coupons
Q: Your hot bar is so fabulous. I was wondering if you would consider meal coupons—buy so many and you get a discount—for those of us who come often to eat here?

A: Thanks for writing! I’m so glad you enjoy our hot bar. Meal coupons and Deli coupons have been discussed in some of our meetings lately, but nothing has come to fruition as of yet. Please continue to enjoy our selections and offering your comments to help us become a better organization. -Bill Pohlman, Deli Manager–West

Delicious chicken
Q: Chicken Chevre Spinach Salad was perfect—At least today it was! Chicken was cooked perfectly—succulent and not overcooked. Other chicken salad’s chicken was nuked, yuck.

A: Thank you for your feedback. I’m sorry to hear you find an inconsistency with our chicken. I can assure you that all of our chicken is roasted in an oven until fully cooked. We don’t use microwaves for any cooking in the Production Kitchen. Thanks again for your continued support for the Co-op.
-Angelika Matthews, Kitchen Manager

Cool tunes
Q: That Frank Sinatra music I heard here while eating lunch was so great! + spinach pie too!

A: Thanks for the positive comment! So glad you enjoyed both the Sinatra and the spinach pie. Yum!!
 -Zelda Jewell, Manager on Duty–West

Palm oil
Q: I have noticed that palm oil is used in several items marked “vegan” at Willy St. Co-op. Due to the destruction of rain forests, which are the homes of orangutans, the use of palm oil is not considered vegan. Please check out this video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sjoxX_oPsQ&feature=youtu.be. Also, this Australian Facebook page: www.facebook.com/palmoilproductsinAustralia.

I request that the locally made products and other products sold in the Willy St. Co-ops will remove Palm Oil from the ingredients in food products, and especially foods/products sold as vegan. Thank you.

A: I checked in with Dean Kallas, Willy Street Co-op’s Purchasing Manager (who is in charge of selecting companies to work with and/or bringing in new packaged products). His response was: “There is a group (www.rspo.org) that certifies sustainably harvested palm oil farms. The farms don’t cut down old growth forest and obviously have a business plan for sustainability. We look for companies working with them. I cannot tell people how to run their businesses or manufacture their products, but we are trying to be cognizant of ingredients and companies’ ingredients practices. Some companies (nutiva.com/articles/nutiva-introduces-organic-red-palm-oil) source from regions without orangutans.”

I also checked in with Josh Perkins, Willy Street Co-op’s Production Kitchen Manager (who is in charge of selecting ingredients that we use in all Deli and Bakery products). His response was: “I’m aware that high demand for the product is—surprise, surprise­—leading to some questionable if not outright objectionable harvesting practices, including deforestation and the loss of habitat for orangutans. It is present in two of the products used by the Production Kitchen, which are both vegan analogue products—Better than Sour Cream and Better than Cream Cheese.These are products that are included in a number of legacy recipes made by the Kitchen to accommodate vegan shoppers looking for foods that taste like dairy products.”

Based off of your comment (and increased attention around palm oil), we are discussing removing these two products from our Production Kitchen, so that we could go entirely “palm oil-free” for our internal deli/bakery recipes. If we go this route, we will post this information on our Facebook page. I will also be doing more research around this ingredient, as this information is pretty new to me. Thanks again, -Dawn Matlak, Interim Director of Cooperative Services

Cheaper hand soap
Q: Could you please start carrying cheaper natural hand soap (liquid)? Nothing you sell is under $6, which is an absurd amount to pay. It’s not like cheap natural hand soap doesn’t exist...Earth Friendly Products, whose dish soap you carry (and is based in IL) makes a $3 hand soap. I’ve bought it at co-ops more expensive than this one (and smaller). It’s a lot of hand soap for the price. Not all of your customers are wealthy, please keep us in mind.

A: Thanks for taking the time to write us about your concerns. Although we do strive to offer a wide variety of products, it’s always helpful to be reminded to reevaluate. We are taking your request into consideration in a several ways. The first is that I am looking at creating space at Willy East for the Earth Friendly hand soap you requested (although it’s rare to have anything happen quickly!). Wow, that is a great price on hand soap! Due to the cost from our vendor it will have a shelf price of $4.29 here...I’d love to find out how other places are able to sell this product for $3! Even so, it will be nice to have another independent company’s product on our shelves (they have a fabulous environmental track record as well) and it will still be a lower price per ounce of any other regularly priced hand soap currently on our shelves.

Another way we are addressing your request is including a hand soap, Alaffia’s Unscented Foaming Hand Soap for $4.99 in our ESP (Everyday Sales Program) starting July 15th. ESP is a program which we update quarterly offering basic products at an affordable price. Just an FYI: look out for the following ESP products in Wellness that will be starting in mid July: Willy Street brand Ultimate Multi Vitamin 120ct, Willy Street brand Children’s Bengal Bites 120 ct, Natural Factors Ultimate Probiotic and Natural Factors Vitamin D3 2000IU 120ct.

The last way we are attempting to help out customers shopping on a budget is the long-standing Wellness Wednesday program where body care, supplements, energy bars, bulk teas and medicinal herbs located in the Wellness aisle are 10% off (non-Owners as well). Shopping sale items on this day is an excellent way to get some sweet deals. I hope this helps and thanks again for writing! -Kathy Kemnitz, Wellness Manager–East

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