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!
Raw material sourcing troubles
Q: I’ve been disappointed three months in a row on Wellness Wed. to find items on my list (esp. supplements) to be out of stock. Some of these items have been sale items and most are Willy Street Co-op brand. Plan and order items in anticipation by dept. head?
A: I’m sorry you haven’t been able to buy all the items on your list. Sadly, Vitamer, the company who makes our supplements, has been having a hard time sourcing raw materials. Many other companies have been experiencing the same issue. So, it’s really out of our hands. Hopefully they will be able to find better sources for quality raw materials soon, Thanks. -Matthew Fure, General Merchandise Manager–East
Q: WTF? Why take bike benefits away on weekends? You want me to drive my car on weekends?
A: I’m sorry that you are disappointed by our moving the Bicycle Benefits incentive to being weekdays. We did so for three reasons: 1. To encourage more shoppers to shop during the week while road construction is going on. Weekdays have tended to be much slower than before road construction, while weekends are only slightly less busy. The main objective of BB for us was always to reduce congestion in our Willy East parking lot. 2. For nine months we offered the benefits on weekends only—some Owners who could only bike on weekdays had been disappointed at not being able to receive the 5% discount; now they are having a turn. 3. We wanted to be conservative the first year in terms of how much we spent on the Benefit—and that was warranted. We don’t have enough in the budget to justify making it 7 days/week. Thanks for writing. -Brendon Smith, Director of Communications
Q: Highlight the purchase requirements on coupons (i.e. buy 2 save $). To help reduce customer confusion.
A: Hi, and thanks for your suggestion. We will keep this I mind when improving our coupon system, although we also try to minimize labor involved to keep labor costs down and (ultimately) prices lower. -Brendon Smith, Director of Communications
Q: Honest Tea buyout by Coke. I just heard that Honest Tea was bought by Coca Cola and that they were keeping it quiet. The article stated that Coca Cola didn’t want to lose their appeal to a “certain type of customer” who might be turned off by the buyout. I don’t think we should cater to that kind of dishonesty—basically it makes me mad because I am that “certain type.” Could we let people know about this and then decide about whether to keep carrying it?
A: Thanks for bringing this to everyone’s attention. -Lynn Olson, Director of Cooperative Services
Q: The Reader came to my house a week late. That is a problem as I could miss classes and sales. Can it be sent so it is received before the first of the month? Thanks.
A: Thanks for writing. The Reader is mailed on the second to last day of each month and should arrive in your mailbox on the first. If your post office is delaying delivery, you should file a complaint with them. While it is sent bulk mail, they are not supposed to sit on them. I’ve had to do this with my own post office and it made a difference. However, if you live outside Madison, it will take a couple extra days but it shouldn’t be a week late. We post all newsletter content on our website on the first of each month; this includes sales and class listings. Thanks again! -Liz Wermcrantz, Editor
Q: Thank you for paying attention to the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch list recommendations when offering seafood to buy. It’s a time saver when I don’t have to look up what is safe and sustainably caught when shopping.
A: Thanks! We’re glad you have found it helpful. -Liz Hawley, Cooperative Services Assistant–East
Q: I would like you to allow the fish people to sell soft shell crabs live. I know this was an issue before, but only a small umber of people objected to it.
A: Thanks for letting us know your preference. We asked the Seafood Center to refrain from selling live creatures out of respect for those among us who are opposed to promoting this practice. Luckily for you, you can buy them at their other sites. -Lynn Olson, Director of Cooperative Services
Q: I didn’t know I could get a half stalk of celery! Perhaps you could post something so people know. Also, for singles like me could we have more smaller or half-portions available?
A: Thanks for the feedback, and we’ll consider your suggestion. -Andy Johnston, Produce Manager–East
Q: Need to enclose carts outside with radiation and radioactive rain and snow.
A: Hello. We are considering ways to enclose the cart area, but hadn’t considered the radiation element to that work. But again, we are looking at solutions to keep the carts dry in any weather. -Lynn Olson, Director of Cooperative Services
Q: Why is produce at West so small? Why are Commons so large?
A: Hmmm...maybe it’s the lighting, but both stores’ produce sections occupy about the same space. The Commons in the West store is actually smaller than the East store, but we’re managing pretty well regardless. Thanks. -Lynn Olson, Director of Cooperative Services
Q: Please stock bread from Kamm’s Farm Bakery at Willy West—the best bread!
A: Kamm’s production is very limited in capacity. Unfortunately, they will not be able to produce more bread despite demand. You’ll have to get your Kamm’s bread from Willy East. Sorry. -Matt Hofstede, Grocery Manager–West
Q: I think you should create a new membership option that allows family members to add on an additional elderly family member. Elderly people are on a fixed income and those who are able to shop would find your store easy to use due to its size and accessibility. However, they may not choose to do so because of the membership fee.
A: Thank you for your comment. With the opening of Willy West, many new Owners have asked, “Why only two names on a household account?” Many households do have dependents (children, exchange students, elderly in their care, etc.). Our current bylaws define a household as two adults in the same residence. This was drafted in the ’80s and has not been modified. I will forward your comment to the Board for bylaw change consideration. -Tamara Urich-Rintz, Owner Records Administrator
Q: Some items on the bulk aisle can be out of stock for extended periods (e.g. nutritional yeast powder has been out for 6 weeks due to supplier trouble). Adding to the website a notice when an item is out of stock, and also a notice when it is back in stock, would save unnecessary trips to the Co-op during this difficult construction period.
A: Thank you for taking the time to provide your feedback. We agree with the issue you have raised, and your recommended solution. Unfortunately, we do not have the means to provide the feature you requested at this time. Satisfying your request depends on tasks and projects that are under way: 1. Web Presence: We have initialized a project for our Fiscal Year 2012 (starting in July 2011) to significantly upgrade our website, including CoShop. 2. POS (Point-of-Sale) Workgroup: We have initialized a task to move Willy Street Co-op toward a live inventory model.
Once these two projects are completed, we will reevaluate the feasibility of this excellent suggestion. -James Phetteplace, Information Systems Manager and Brendon Smith, Director of Communications