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Saving Money at the Co-op

If you’re a Co-op shopper, Co+op Deals is probably a familiar term. These are our regular biweekly sales that offer great deals throughout our stores. If you’ve had the opportunity to visit one of our sister food cooperatives in other parts of the state or country, you may have noticed the same Co+op Deals sales promoted there as well. So what’s going on here? What exactly are Co+op Deals?

Before you can fully understand the answer to that question, you have to know about an association that Willy Street Co-op belongs to called National Co-op Grocers (or NCG). This is an alliance of 143 food cooperatives in the United States, representing 195 stores in 38 states. Together, the NCG cooperatives account for annual sales of over $1.7 billion and have 1.3 million consumer-owners.

NCG’s purpose is to bring these unique cooperatives together, pool our resources, and act as a virtual chain that is able to better compete with large national (and multinational) chain stores. NCG co-ops work together in a myriad of ways including information sharing, mentorship of new co-ops, and perhaps most importantly leveraging our combined buying power to get better pricing from our distributors to pass on to you, our Owners.

NCG supports our pricing on two levels. The first is to negotiate regular pricing that is well below what would be available to us if we were to approach vendors independently. We do routine price checks against our competitors and we have always found that our prices are very similar, even compared to large chain stores with much more buying power. This is in large part because of the pricing NCG has negotiated for us and our sister co-ops.

The second way that NCG works to support our pricing is with the Co+op Deals program. These are promotions that are negotiated on a national level with suppliers and distributors, using the full buying power of all 143 NCG cooperatives to leverage deals that you can’t find anywhere else. NCG has found that Co+op Deals pricing is on average below the average sale prices of our competitors on the same items.

143 Co-ops with 1.3 million consumer-owners pooling our resources to bring the best quality food to market at the best prices—it’s hard to argue with that!

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