Q: What does it cost for a share and to become an Owner?
A: Sorry for my delayed response! To answer your question, when you invest in full as an Individual Owner, you invest $56 of equity, $91 for a Household. This does not include the $2 administration fee associated with each equity installment. We also are able to have Owners invest in their Ownership over seven years. Meaning, you can invest as little as $10 of an Individual Ownership, or $15 a year for a Household Ownership once a year. If you qualify for our Access Discount (www.willystreet.coop/ownership#toc-2), you are able to invest a smaller amount of equity each year over a larger amount of time. Additionally Owners with the Access discount can enjoy an additional 10% off most purchases from Willy Street Co-op.
Should you ever decide you would like to leave the Co-op at any time, we can refund you the equity you invested during your time of Ownership, or we can donate it to our Community Reinvestment Fund.
You can sign up for Ownership either in either one of our stores or online.
Please let me know if you have any further questions. Our Customer Service Teams at both stores are also very helpful in answering questions as well.
Have a great rest of your week!
-Ashley Kuehl, Owner Records Administrator
Good but incomplete
Q: Over the years lines between the subject entities have become a bit blurred in our opinion. We used to buy all our essential food at the Health Food Store until Co-ops became more familiar and affordable. The Co-ops were great when we first could afford to join one on the east coast way back when. To us it was like owning a Health Food store where we could get all the organic products we wanted at reasonable cost. However, gradually Co-ops (in particular Willy Street) became more and more commercialized and stopped carrying products we once were able to buy. A few examples (there are many) are bulk tofu and Hijiki seaweed (some of your millennial grocery staff have never heard of hijiki but it was once carried by Willy St). No-Salt potato chips...duh! (sorry).
So it is with frustration that we feel we cannot buy many healthful items at the co-op and once again have to return to health food stores and the “health” aisles of supermarkets. Thank you for a good but incomplete business model.
A: I’m sorry you aren’t satisfied with our product offerings. What we carry is based almost entirely on what our Owners choose to purchase. We have extremely limited space in our stores, so routinely, we go through our product offerings in each section, weed out items that aren’t selling well, and replace them with items that our Owners have asked for or items that are new to market that we think our Owners would like to have available to them.
Regarding the items you listed:
- Hijiki Seaweed: This was discontinued by our suppliers. That particular kind of seaweed has been shown to have significant arsenic contamination and the USDA has advised against its consumption. However, I have heard that is for sale at the Oriental Shop on Park Street.
- No Salt Potato Chips: We do carry Kettle Brand low salt chips, but not the no salt since they did not sell well at all. I have passed this request on to our Grocery Category Manager, however, and he will consider bringing that flavor back.
- Bulk Tofu: We do not carry tofu in bulk, however we have a lot of price competitive options for tofu in our refrigerated grocery case. It’s also possible to set up a pre-order for this product if you would like, just let me know and I can put you in touch with the buyers.
I hope this helps. Let me know if there are any other specific products that you are missing, and I’ll do my best to answer your questions.
Best Regards, Megan Minnick, Director of Purchasing
Q: Some years ago I stocked up on hummus mix from the bulk bin at Willy East. I was optimistic about how often I would use it, and so I still have quite a bit of it in my cupboard. I mixed some up today and it doesn’t taste like what I recall. Can this mix go rancid? Thanks!
A: Thank you for contacting us regarding the Bulk Hummus mix. While I’ve not found any concrete answer to this, it is my strong assumption that this could be possible. Given some of the ingredients (dehydrated garbanzo beans, sesame tahini) and their oil content, I think that it would be fairly plausible and somewhat likely for this product to go rancid after too much time. Likely more so with the bulk mix, as it is not packaged against air and light. Hope this info helps and thanks for inquiring! -Patrick Humiston, Grocery Manager–East
Q: Does everyone know how awesome the Mineral Fusion Nail Polish is? If so, why didn’t they tell me? Great colors and no chipping. Yeah, Co-op!
A: Thank you for the positive feedback! We’re so glad you like our nail polish. I’m sure you know that Mineral Fusion nail polish is free of parabens, dibutyl phthalate, toluene, camphor, xylene, formaldehyde, and triphenyl phosphate (TPHP). We’re pretty excited to have a functional, beautiful, and cleaner nail polish option! Thank you so much! –Angela Pohlman, Health & Wellness Category Manager
Useless toilet paper dispensers
Q: Please get rid of the useless toilet paper dispensers.
- You spend all day getting some out.
- When you do get some out, it is too narrow and too thin to use.
A: Thanks you for bringing this to our attention. The issue is not with the dispenser but with the toilet paper. I have spoken with our supplier and informed them of the poor quality product they have been sending us. Apparently they have had difficulty finding high-quality t.p. that meets our standard of 100% recycled content. The sales rep is bringing us samples of higher quality stuff this week and hopefully we can resolve this issue very soon. –Jim Jirous, Maintenance Manager–East
Sausage in the cheese cooler
Q: I was surprised by the sausage in the cheese cooler. I’m vegetarian and am not going to buy a veg product that that sits next to meat. Please consider placing meat separately from cheese so that the cheese is a safer product. Thanks.
A: I am sorry that the placement of the sausage in the cheese case is problematic. Cross merchandising is something that we employ throughout the store. Rest assured that all of the cheese is wrapped and heat-sealed on surfaces that do not have meat sliced on them and the sausages are wrapped off-site by the vendor that we get them from. There is very little possibility that there would be any cross-contamination. We also try very hard to only place the sausages near cheeses that are made with animal rennet, although there may be times when that isn’t the case. –Julia Gengenbach, Interim Deli Manager–East
Sell by date
Q: On Monday 9/14, I purchased a clear plastic clamshell containing two raspberry rhubarb dumplings made by East Side Ovens in Milwaukee. There was a red sticker on the box with the date 9/14 on it. I do not know whether this was the date the dumplings were made or whether this was the expiration date. I ate one dumpling the next morning (9/15). Two days later, on 9/17 (this morning), I got the second dumpling out to eat it. There were several large spots of mold on the rhubarb part of the dumpling, so I had to throw the whole thing out. This was disappointing, as the dumplings cost around $5 (or $2.50 each), and I’ve never had this happen before. There were no special storage instructions on the box, either, requesting refrigeration or containing other cautions. I guess that I just wanted to let you know of this issue and see whether anything could be done. Thanks for taking time to read this.
A: I am so sorry you had a poor experience with the East Side Ovens dumplings. The date on the label (9/14) was the sell-by date and the spoilage of the product on the 17th, while unfortunate, is not wholly unexpected. There are no preservatives in that product and as such it will spoil more quickly than a product with preservatives. All of that said, you are welcome to come to the Customer Service desk and request a refund for the product. Thank you for your comment, Julia Gengenbach, Interim Deli Manager–East