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 customer who claimed that mullein is toxic and causes severe burns if touched is not correct. There is no need to destroy it or eradicate it from public areas. Mullein is a valuable medicinal plant that when properly prepared as a tea or liquid extract reduces inflammation of respiratory and urinary passages, and soothes dry coughs and hoarseness. Some people experience itching in their throat, nose or eyes if they inhale mullein. It is important to educate ourselves about our native medicinal plants so that we respect them and understand how properly to use them, rather than fear them and thus end up destroying the natural medicines that nature provides us. Having mullein and other medicinal plants around the Co-op provides us a lovely opportunity to teach children about the plants and their value to us, rather than instilling irrational fear about their dangers.

A: Thanks for informing us of our error in responding to an Owner who wrote in about their concerns regarding common mullein. Usually our clientele gives us great information so we were a little too confident in the information and didn’t do any research independently. But, as luck would have it, more knowledgeable owners have now informed us that the properties and characteristics of common mullein were misunderstood by the customer who wrote in and that there was never a need for us to remove it. Lesson learned. We have now looked into the topic ourselves and see that there should not be any harmful effects from coming into contact with common mullein for the general public. It could still be a plant that the person with the original concern is allergic to or there is some other plant on Co-op grounds that is causing an issue that she misidentified. We are going to ask Bonnie from Fertile Earth to consult with us to insure that the plantings we have in our outdoor areas are safe for all that visit the Co-op. Thanks again for keeping us on our toes and for correcting our mistake. -Willy Street Co-op Maintenance

Recyclable cups & lids
Q: Could you please post reminders to members that the plastic (and lids) cups from the Juice Bar are recyclable? I often see people throwing them in the trash. Thanks!

A; You are correct. These cups (#7 plastic) are recyclable. The only thing I would add is that our service provider (Recycle America) requires them to be empty and contain less than 5% food debris. The lids should also be removed and recycled separately. From our custodial/pest control perspective, rinsing the cups before recycling them is appreciated.
–Jim Jirous, Maintenance Manager–East

Owner frustration
Q: Hello, I am an owner and I love you guys, but I am getting super frustrated! As a new mother, I’ve been dealing with how difficult it is to continue getting my groceries from you. I’m hoping you could respond and let me know of a service you have that can assist me that I’m not aware of.

The challenges I’m facing when shopping at your West location are 1. The car seat takes up so much space in the shopping cart; there is no room for groceries. 2. Trying to leave the store with the grocery cart with my son in it as well as carrying a bunch of filled grocery bags results in making me wider than the door, 3. Your parking lot is on a hill, so it is even a challenge to get my son safely put in my car. 4: Trying to fumble around with the above problems and make it home again before my son gets hungry. He doesn’t want to take a bottle, and I’ve tried nursing at your store before I leave, but he eats when he wants to, and doesn’t care what kind of schedule I am trying to implement.
I knew there would be additional challenges shopping with an infant, and I have tried to resolve it the following ways. 1: Your delivery service. Unfortunately, you do not deliver to Verona. 2: I thought maybe you’d offer a service where I could “order” my groceries ahead and pick it up at the store.  I was told at the front desk that this service is only available at the East side location.

At this point it seems like I am stuck with no resolution. I can’t just go ahead and get a babysitter anytime I want to go grocery shopping (see #4 of my challenges listed—not taking a bottle). Unless I decide to move to the city of Madison, I’m stuck. I am SO CLOSE to the city of Madison line; it makes this whole scenario even more frustrating.

I’d be more than happy to meet the delivery driver at the edge of the city of Madison line. I would really like to continue to shop with you all, and continue to be an owner. At this point though, I am paying to be an owner and not able to use your services as often as I’d like to. I find it hard to believe that I am the only owner that has difficulty shopping at your store (busy schedule, medical problems, etc.). I’m sure I’m not the only owner in this situation. Do you have any suggestions for me? Again, I’d LOVE to continue to give you my business, but I don’t know how that is possible anymore. Thank you for your time.

A: I sat down with our Operations Manager Wynston Estis to see if there were ways that we could address some of the challenges you are facing as a new parent and Owner of our store. The very first thing we discovered was that Willy West does not have the same carts that are available at Willy East. Some of the carts at Willy East have infant seats built in so that you need not use your car carrier. We regret that these special carts were never ordered for Willy West, and are very thankful that you brought this to our attention so that we may order the carts for that site.

We hope that this will make carrying both babies and groceries in our carts an easier process for you or any other new parent at Willy West. Please expect that it will take four to six weeks for the carts to arrive at the store.

The parking lot grade is set to City of Middleton regulation standards, and is designed to reduce stormwater runoff. It might help to try and park on the east side of Willy West; the grade is less steep on that side of the lot. We encourage you to ask our Customer Service staff for assistance if you have difficulty getting your groceries to the car. Customer Service gets requests of this variety often and is more than happy to help. Calling ahead will also help staff prepare to assist you.

Regarding delivery, please consider the We Shop, You Pickup service. The service is operated out of Willy East, but you may request use of the service through Willy West with special permission.  Your choices will be limited to only what is available at both stores, but theoretically you could do your shopping remotely, pick up the groceries you ordered at the Customer Service desk, and get your baby home faster. Contact orders@willystreet.coop to inquire about details of service.

We hope that the information we provided was helpful to you and that we will see you in the store again soon.  –Kirsten Moore, Director of Cooperative Services

Barefoot shopping
Q: I was told by a grocery staffer yesterday that it was store policy that customers could be barefoot. It seems to me that this must violate some sort of state or federal laws. It’s not legal to create a policy in contravention to laws. Surely, this is a health risk for ALL shoppers. It’s also a potential liability risk for the Co-op if a barefoot shopper gets hurt. Maybe some of the PC idiots of the world thought this policy was about inclusion, but it really doesn’t make sense on any other level. Of course, the way the right wing has re-written the lawbooks it’s almost impossible to sue any corp or business for anything anymore, so maybe no one at the Co-op cares that this policy is not good sense. It offended me to see this barefoot person.

A: To respond to your comment, our Operations Manager contacted the health department and reviewed whether we are obligated by any public health code to require our customers to wear shoes. We were informed that although some insurance policies may be contingent upon companies requiring customer footwear, there are no legal obligations for a requirement. We are routinely inspected by our insurer and the broker we use as well, and they have not yet requested that we develop a policy on customer footwear.

We do not encourage walking barefoot in our stores, but if customers wish to do so, unless we hear other concerns from Owners (yours is the first we’ve had in quite some time) or until we are otherwise required to force the issue,
customers may continue to walk barefoot at their own risk. –Kirsten Moore, Director of Cooperative Services

Q: I love your newsletter and wanted to point out a factual error in your “Alternative Animal Husbandry” article in the August edition. I enjoyed your citations of both Dr. Temple Grandin and Dr. Panksepp’s work in the field of animal behavior and emotion.... however, Dr. Panksepp’s first name is “Jaak” whereas your author has it down as “Joel.”

His son Jules Panksepp (who was a classmate of mine) is also a researcher in the field of animal cognition and behavior and earned his PhD here at UW-Madison in 2009. You can see more about Jaak Panksepp here: www.vetmed.wsu.edu/research_vcapp/Panksepp/ Just thought you should know!  

A: Thanks so much for the clarification! –Liz Wermcrantz, Editor

Mark E. Saunders CFPDebra A. StroikReliable Renovations LLC

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