Grocery store customers have an increasing interest in their food. At Willy Street Co-op, we try to provide as complete a picture on the items we bring in to sell as we can. Our staff members are trained to interact with the shoppers and they are also asked to be aware of the foods they are responsible for. We want them to speak about our products, answer questions, and even warn about their suitability for certain special diet considerations. Every time the government announces a recall or sends out an alert about food safety, we at the Co-op know we are already diligent at determining the source of our foods and certainly more dedicated at selecting the best vendors we can find. And food purity is not the only consideration at the Co-op. Business practice, environmental responsibility, and working conditions are also areas where our product selection team looks for values.

Responsible vendors come to us and tell us many wonderful things about their businesses, and we sometimes think these facts are worth passing along. At last we may have found a great way to help them tell their story. We are offering them a chance to reach out and meet their customers through us in a very new, dynamic and interactive way. We are beginning to help them reach customers through the QR (Quick Response) code.

QR codes are similar to the barcodes but are able to hold or share much more data. You can scan or “read” a QR code with an iPhone, Android or other camera-enabled Smartphone, and it will take you to a website, make a phone call, deliver a vCard or many other actions.

Look around and you’ll see them popping up everywhere. Here is what they look like:

This one represents Your co-op—Willy Street Co-op! It will take you to our own website.

You can scan it with the help of a simple application you download on a Smartphone. Download a QR scanner and get in on the fun.

Healthy Ridge Farm’s QR code can tell you all about their operation, what they have to offer, how to get in contact with them, and anything else they want you to know.

And, Cates Family Farm’s QR details where we get our grass-fed beef. Their website also has cooking suggestions and even recipes.

QR codes are a glimpse into the future that you can have today if you have one of these phones. Codes can link to the web, contain a text message, list a phone number, and will soon connect shoppers in every corner of the marketplace.

At your Co-op, we see it as a chance to help our producers get better in touch with you without spending hard-earned dollars on wasteful print advertising.

If you are a vendor to the Co-op and you want to take advantage of this, just ask anyone working in the store to help you connect with someone to make this happen. You will see more of these in the future around the store for sure. Some vendors are already printing them on their wrappers.

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