Q: I understand that from time to time the deli runs out of things early. But for the last three Fridays they have run out of the “Fishless Fish Filet” (may have the name wrong). To me it seems reasonable to expect that “Todays Menu” means “today” and I would in general expect items to be still available through the stores evening traffic (at least 6pm). So it seems like poor planning when something is constantly out earlier in the day. I appreciate the work of the people in the deli, but I think a better job could be done in keeping the hot bar stocked with items from that day’s menu. Thanks
A: Sorry our hotbar menus do not always reflect on the website. We guarantee the online menus until 1:00pm each day. The reason for this is that our hotbar sales can fluctuate greatly from day to day and from dish to dish. Our buyer does their best to anticipate what is going to sell each day, but sometimes we have folks come in and grab 5 or 10 pounds of something off the hot bar, or unbeknownst to us, everyone wanted a certain dish that day. Our buyer has 10+ years of experience and still has trouble predicting human nature of what will sell vs. what will not. Our hot bar sells an average of 200 lbs. per day, but sometimes that number can be as high as 400 lbs. on a busy day and as low as 100 lbs. on a slow day. We do our best to order for what we think will sell in a day; sometimes we mess up or a dish sells better than anticipated and runs out in the late afternoon or evening.
We have recently worked with our IT department to start updating our online menu throughout the day rather than just in the morning. Thanks for reaching out and making us aware of this issue, and also for the appreciation of the hard work that deli folks do! Thanks! -Dustin Skelley, Deli Manager-East
Q: Thanks for the great service making my tea...wish there was a tip jar. I would definitely add to it!
A: Thanks for the positive feedback! I’ve shared it with the Juice Bar staff at West. While it’s true that a tip jar would be nice, we do have a staff of over 400 who are all working hard to provide great customer service at the Co-op (many who make similar wages as our Juice Bar employees) and we don’t feel it would be fair to provide opportunities to tip some employees and not others. Our starting wage is currently $12/hour and we are currently working organization-wide to further increase that starting wage. The continued patronage and feedback from customers like you goes a long way to achieving our goals, and we appreciate it! Thanks again for taking the time to share your good experience with us. -Kirsten Moore, Cooperative Services Director
Community Bulletin Board
Q: hi:) i just wanted to say i am disappointed that you guys keep taking down my bulletin board ad which had a date on it and was taken down before a month after that date (and there was nothing that i can possibly think of that i did wrong...) and for always removing the business cards too.. i spend soooo much money at the coop every week and am a huge supporter of you and it was just a little disappointing to see that other people can post their stuff but mine gets taken down for no apparent reason? i know it’s not that big of a deal but i think that the community board should be exactly that, to help community members connect to other local businesses etc. and maybe it’s a little too regulated?
A: Thank you for sharing this feedback. I’msorry to hear that something you’ve posted on one of our community bulletin boards has been taken down less than a month after you posted it. We agree, it’s important to have this space for community members to share, and we have developed our policy over time, making changes to ensure there is ample chance for many community members to use and share the boards.
Without knowing the content of what you posted, or which store’s board you were using, it’s challenging to say why this may have happened. It is possible we made a mistake, it is possible that another customer has taken your postings down without telling us, or something else may have happened. Regarding the business cards, you are more than welcome to put them in the binders we have provided for sharing them. We don’t keep them on the boards since the boards are popular and we want to make sure that there is enough space to share with everyone who would like to post something.
I’ve passed your feedback along to our Owner Resources Coordinators and Managers on Duty as a reminder to make sure that we leave posters with a date on them up for a full month. Please let me know if there is anything else we may do for you. -Kirsten Moore, Cooperative Services Director
Q: Hi, I was wondering if CBD oil is legal in Wisconsin. My friend sent me a text saying it was available at your stores.
A: Thank you for the question—yes, our CBD oil is perfectly legal as the CBD is derived from industrial hemp, and not marijuana. We have it at all three stores! Let me know if you have any other questions. Thank you! -Angela Pohlman, General Merchandise Category Manager
Q: I shop at both the North and East locations, but prefer to shop at East. At the North I’ve purchased “Papa’s Pullets Egg Farm” eggs. They state they are hormone free, cage free, free of any animal bi-product fee AND they are from Wisconsin-Platteville. Phil’s Eggs are very similar, but they’re from Illinois and they’re $1 more than Papa’s. Why don’t we have Papa’s at Willy East and why do we even bother to carry Phil’s? Obviously, Papa’s is more local and cheaper!
A: Hope your week is going well! We brought in the Papa’s Pullets Egg Farm products for North when it opened, so we could have a cheaper option. I am not sure they can produce more for us for East, but I will check in and see if we can add them. Phil’s has been with us for a long time and they are in Northern Illinois, about 80 miles from us. We can get them 5 days a week, which is a significant advantage. Thank you for your comments and request!! -Dean Kallas, Grocery Category Manager
Q: First, I love the Willy St Co-op. It makes buying groceries so much easier because I do not need to read labels to ensure I am not buying something packed with a bunch of stuff I do not want in my food, along with supporting good companies and their products. However, I was recently surprised to see partially hydrogenated vegetable oil as an ingredient in the pre-made sandwich wraps. This is one of the ingredients I try to avoid completely, and I always assumed the Co-op would be somewhere I would not need to worry about reading labels to make sure it was not an ingredient. Another product I take issue with is Schweppes tonic water because it is packed with High Fructose Corn Syrup. The Co-op carries other fabulous tonic waters made with cane sugar or other natural sweeteners and I do not understand why it needs to carry Schweppes. Further, this is a product you can find at just about any grocery store, gas station, liquor store, etc., so there should not be an overly large demand for the co-op to carry it. Again, I love the Co-op, but I believe these products are an unnecessary step in the wrong direction for what the Co-op carries. I would love to see Schweppes tonic dropped which hopefully would result more consumption of the high quality, naturally sweetened tonic waters. As far as the wraps go, I imagine the hydrogenated oil is an ingredient in either the tortilla or a spread which I think could be avoided rather easily. I look forward to your response. Thank you.
A: Thank you for writing to us with your concerns. First, I’d like to thank you for pointing out the labeling error regarding our pre-made sandwich wraps. I checked in with our Prepared Foods Category Manager Patrick Schroeder, and he noted that we switched over to IndianLife Organic Wheat Tortillas this past summer, and they do not contain hydrogenated oils. It would appear that at least one of the labels for our wraps had missed our ingredient update. If you can let us know which wrap you were specifically interested in, we can make doubly sure that the ingredients are now correct.
I’ve also shared your concerns about Schweppes tonic water with the Grocery Department. The Co-op is a consumer-owned grocery cooperative, which means that we carry products that customers request we sell. We have been selling both foods deemed natural and foods that are produced with more conventional ingredients for years, and will continue to do so in order to remain inclusive and convenient by meeting a wide variety of customer needs and tastes.
We are strong advocates of reading labels, because producers can change their ingredients without notice to anyone. Knowing that we have some shoppers who are very concerned about what they consume for health reasons or otherwise, we believe reading labels is by far the safest way to ensure that you are only purchasing those products that are acceptable for you. We do have a class called Simply Labels that we run on occasion for those who wish to learn more about how to navigate labels more efficiently, and you can find scheduled dates and times in our Reader and online.
Please let us know if there is anything else we may do for you. Thanks again! -Kirsten Moore, Cooperative Services Director
Where’s the beef?
Q: I’m not sure if the message I tried to send yesterday went thru or not. I have some feedback, take it with a grain of salt. The Willy roast beef should always be in stock, because it’s the best quality of all your cooked beefs and it’s local (the grass fed one.) if this means making more of it and less of lesser quality meats that are in the same category you should do that. GMOs & pesticides are a disappointment to see in a store that’s trying the be the good in the world. I would like to not see them in the store. If people want them they can go to the plethora of other stores in town that sell that toxicity and contribute to the destruction of life. Lastly, the music you play in the west store has been really, from my perspective, negative and mainstream pop culture radio music, and I am just suggesting that maybe consider playing some more instrumental or more loving less mainstream, less annoying music. Maybe some jazz or oldies? Anything that isn’t that annoying pop radio music that you’d hear at the frat houses? I come to the coop to try to escape the toxic pop culture and don’t like that it has infiltrated the coop. Sorry if this sounds harsh, just wanted to give some feedback. Love the coop though
A: Thank you for your feedback! I am currently working with our Deli team to make sure we are making roast beef on a consistent basis. There are times when product in unavailable or other factors come into play but we will continue to strive to always have this product on hand and available for purchase.
When we decide what products to carry in the store, we do our best to carry a variety of products that meet various needs and price points so that we can be accessible to our many shoppers. That’s one of the reasons that we are not an exclusively organic store. Our goal is to provide for all of our customers and give them the options that help them to spend their money in ways that are best for them or their families.
We periodically review our in-store music selections and make updates at that time. We will certainly take your feedback into account for the next review.
Thank you so much for sharing your feedback with us. We will continue to strive to be better every day.
Thanks for the soap
Q: A big thank you to Lily at the North store for helping me find a new soap, after my long-term product was discontinued. Not only did she turn me on to a really good alternative, it was a product I can feel a lot better about purchasing AND, she soothed my weary mood over the inevitable corporatization of our favorite ‘natural’ brands. Change is inevitable and sometimes good things can come of it.
A: Thanks for sharing your compliments! I’ve passed them on to Lily and her supervisor to enjoy. Have a great day and enjoy the soap! -Kirsten Moore, Cooperative Services Director
Q: Wish the outside seating had chairs with backs openings for those in wheelchairs.
A: Thank you for your comment. Two of the six tables we installed on the patio at Willy North have three benches, leaving one side open for wheelchair accessibility in compliance with ADA requirements.
Sorry that the chairs do not have backs on them. Hopefully you will be able to make yourself comfortable on the seats we have. Sincerely, Jeff Dempsey, Assistant Store Director—North
Q: I love that new little patio area out front! It is adorable. Great use of plants/landscaping. It all makes it so fun to come here.Very, very nicely done.
A; Thank you for your comment. We are very happy to hear that you like the new patio area at Willy North. We love it too, and look forward to having it be enjoyed for years and years to come! Sincerely, Jeff Dempsey, Assistant Store Director—North
Q: Everything bagel! Everything bagel!! Everything bagel!!! Please.
A: Bagels have been a huge problem for our deli the last few years. Unfortunately there are no bagel purveyors in town that are able to deliver to us. That means it’s on our us to figure out how to get a fresh product in the store. We were getting fresh bagels from Bagels Forever here at East, but because of how our delivery driver works (i.e. going to North, then East, then West, then East, then North…) we couldn’t get bagels here at East until 9am or 10am. This was such a drag because this was way too late for all the bagel lovers such as yourself.
This week we launched a move to have bagels on the shelf when the store opens, the only way this was feasible was to offer frozen bagels that we bake off every morning. I had a lot of doubts as to whether or not this was the best option, but our team felt strongly that we needed to have bagels on the shelf right when the store opens, and that if a frozen option was the only route to make this happen then so be it. Unfortunately Bagels Forever does not offer the everything bagel in a frozen variety, so we were unable to continue carrying that product.
With that in mind, we did lower our bagel prices so that they’re super affordable. Also I am in the process of bringing in some really awesome artisan spreads and jams to pair with the bagels that will hopefully make them more exciting and appealing to customers. I know it’s not quite an everything bagel though. Lastly, Underground Butcher has been piloting a bagel program at their store a few blocks down Willy. We have expressed interest in carrying their product as soon as they are able to get it into regular production. I look forward to building and fostering a relationship with them to help make their program a success and so that fresh bagels can make a triumphant return to our shelves. Best Wishes, Dustin Skelley. Deli Manager—East
Q: The Commons is so confining and (at times) claustrophobic, that shopping carts should be banned from the interior (and strollers too). Respectful people park along the outer wall, but the self-entitled and privileged always ruin it for others.
A: We can review our signage in the Commons and request that customers leave their carts outside the Commons. Thanks for the suggestion! –Kristin Esselstrom, Store Director—East