Q: I would just like to write that in my experience I have found Willy Co-op food prices to be lower on many essential items that a family with a young child needs. Organic or additive-free milk, yogurt, cheese, and cost-effective organic bulk items (legumes, low-arsenic rice) etc. are lower in cost than at other stores. While fruits and veggies are costly, I know that even quite tired, I will find organic and locally produced items clearly marked, and I make a priority to have organic produce and products at our table. Since becoming a mum I have increased our meat intake a bit and though Willy West bar may not have as large an offering, in fact, for the recipes I am learning, I found they have what I need with my desire for grass-fed, etc. Also, the folks at the meat counter have been very, very helpful. Finding all these healthy options for the basics in one place is something I value. I have to minimize some of the other enticing convenience or novelty foods due to cost (though many are still less expensive at the co-op—example, spicy pimento cheese spread), and there are some items I do go to other stores for cost savings (legume/protein rich pasta, tea, sometimes bananas) but in so doing I find the Co-op is actually not more expensive if one is seeking organic foods.
A: Thanks so much for the kind words! We try really hard to offer the highest quality food at the most competitive prices possible, and it’s nice to know that our efforts are noticed! Cheers! -Megan Minnick, Purchasing Director
Q: Does the Coop have plans to begin accepting Apple Pay at its locations? I have to imagine that the newly upgraded payment terminals have the ability to take it. Thanks!
A: I met last Friday with our POS re-seller to determine if we couldstart accepting Apple Pay. Unfortunately our point-of-sale is not capable yet.
Currently we use the LOC Software POS platform called SMS. LOC has completed their development to allow for Apple Pay; however, they are waiting for the credit card merchant FirstData to make this update PCI-certified. Until FirstData certifies this update, we cannot implement Apple Pay.
As soon as this update is available, I will work with our re-seller to implement this feature, along with other NFC payment methods (such as Google Wallet). -James Phetteplace, Director of Information Technology
Q: I just want to say how grateful I am that the co-op is making a commitment to take intersectionality seriously. As an intersectional feminist who is disabled, poor, queer, and genderqueer—knowing that an organization that I am a member of will be making efforts to recognize and work with all of the various aspects of my identity, as well as those of others like and very unlike me in regards to orientation, race, gender, etc.—well, it’s a nice feeling. Thank you for publicly discussing what intersectionality is, and for working towards becoming more intersectional yourselves.
A: Thank you so much for your comment regarding intersectionality. This is a very important issue for the Co-op and one that the Board of Directors is deeply focused on. I am excited what we will learn and how we will grow through our focused and collaborative work in our intersectionality committee.
Please let me know if you wish to become involved on the committee, or if you would like any additional updates on the committee’s progress as we move forward. -Holly Fearing, Willy Street Co-op Board President
Q: My son lives in your neighborhood and I was wondering if you sell gift certificates? It would be a great gift for him. Thanks for your reply.
A: We do carry gift cards; what a wonderful idea! See the link following for details. Thanks for thinking of us. (www.willystreet.coop/gift-card/co-op-gift-cards-available) -Kirsten Moore, Director of Cooperative Services
Q: This afternoon I visited Willy East and was bombarded by loud saxophone music as I walked toward the front door. I like music, really I do! But the sax player was within three or four feet of the walking area and there was no way to avoid the noise he produced. It made my head hurt. There is no need for such LOUD music. Please advise performers who are engaged to play at the co-op to keep down the volume.
A: I have passed along your feedback to staff who are in position to monitor the musicians and we will work with the musicians, staff and the current layout to try to make it as accommodating as possible for all. We don’t believe that it is our job to monitor the musicians. We do appreciate your feedback when you see an area where we can improve. -Kirsten Moore, Director of Cooperative Services
Q: After the Willy East remodel, several products that my family used to purchase on a weekly or monthly basis are no longer available. We used to shop at willy east every week, at least, for the majority of our household food and other products. During the remodel, we went to other stores to avoid the construction dust and noise. When we came back, unfortunately, it seems like our store no longermeets many of our family’s needs. Was it a conscious decision to turn the store away from being family friendly? That’s what’s been done in my opinion. Here is a list of some of the products that I would like brought back to willy east: the natural breads (italian & sourdough fax), ecover laundry detergent (regular), newman’s spelt pretzels, organic valley string cheese multi-packs, alpen museli, the largeJapanese rice crackers in teriyaki flavor.
A: We are definitely not aiming to make Willy East less family friendly, and I’m so sorry that we’ve left you with that impression! The items you list were dropped because of poor sales. We lost a bit of center store retail space with the remodel (in return for an expanded Deli, meat counter, and Juice Bar). We wanted to make that loss of space as painless as possible for Owners, so we methodically went through 12 months of sales data and targeted our cuts at items that were consistently showing poor sales.
That said, we are tracking customer requests for products to bring back, and I’ve forwarded your list on to the person who keeps that list. If we have significant interest, we will definitely be open to bringing some of these items back. In the meantime, you are totally welcome to pre-order a case of any of these things; just talk to a grocery or customer service staff person and they can get the process going. Thanks again, let me know if I can be of any more help! -Megan Minnick, Purchasing Director
Q: I am concerned that we store our cilantro in metal containers as cilantro pulls metal out of the water. Could we use glass or plastic?
A: Thanks for your comment! The metal pans that we use are high quality, food-safe stainless steel. This is the best option we have found for displaying our bunched herbs. If you would like a bunch of cilantro that hasn’t been in the stainless steel pan, feel free to ask a Produce staff person to get you one from the back. Thanks again! -Brandy Schroeder, Produce Manager–West
Q: It is unacceptable that the Co-op allows companies like Equal Exchange to dictate only certain types of their product can be on sale. When all flavors of a chocolate bar except the healthy option of Panama Extra Dark are on sale, it forces Owners to choose a less healthy option to save money. You should stand up to these companies and look out for your owners.
A; Thanks for writing! Most of our sales are driven by price cuts offered by vendors (like Equal Exchange). We don’t have control over what they put on sale—sometimes it’s a whole line, but other times they may choose to promote a subset of items (perhaps newer items, or items they have large stock of). We believe in passing these savings on to our Owners, so that’s what we do. I’m sorry you weren’t happy with the selection of the recent sale. Best, Megan Minnick, Purchasing Director