by Kirsten Moore, Cooperative Services Director
As winter rolls to an end and we look towards spring, we are continuing our efforts to remind our Owners of some of the special services we provide to make shopping the store easier or more fun for some of you.
DOUBLE DOLLARS COUPONS DISTRIBUTED THROUGH MARCH 13, EXPIRE MAY 31
This month is the last month to receive Double Dollars at the Co-op until October, 2018. After March 13, Co-op shoppers with Double Dollars vouchers have until May 31 to use them at the Co-op. Starting in June, Double Dollars will be available once again at participating local farmers’ markets for the summer and fall seasons.
There are still two more Tuesdays for shoppers using FoodShare/QUEST, Wisconsin’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to receive Double Dollars when they shop! On Double Dollars Tuesdays through March 13, any shopper using a FoodShare/QUEST card to purchase groceries is eligible to receive up to $20 worth of Double Dollars coupons to use during future shopping trips. Double Dollars coupons are designed to help with fresh food purchases, and are issued after customers shop, at the checkout line. For every $5 spent using a FoodShare/QUEST card for any FoodShare/QUEST eligible items, the Co-op gives one $5 Double Dollars coupon, up to $20, good for any Produce department purchases.
Double Dollars is a City of Madison program administered by the Community Action Coalition of South Central Wisconsin. You can support the program through the Co-op’s Double Dollars Fund by making cash donations to the program at the checkout line, or by simply reusing bags when you shop. From April 3, 2017 when we started raising money for the program through February 11, we’ve already raised $60,628 for Double Dollars thanks to your donations and reuse of bags.
ACCESS DISCOUNT PROGRAM RENEWALS DUE MARCH 31
As reported last month, Access Discount Program participants received letters sent February 15th reminding participants that it’s time for annual renewal. To continue receiving the 10% discount on purchases, all Owners who currently participate in the Access Discount program must renew their eligibility between now and March 31, 2018. Owners interested in continuing to receive this benefit are asked to visit Customer Service at any retail location with their current eligibility materials to complete an enrollment form. Owners who received the Access Discount Program renewal letter in February who have not renewed by March 15 will receive another notice.
The Access Discount Program is a benefit of Ownership for your use in times when income is low. Owners are eligible to enroll in the program at any time, and enrollment lasts through the calendar year, with an opportunity to renew each year. Owners currently participating in the program who do not renew by March 31 will see their 10% discount lapse until they decide to enroll in the program again at a later time. When Owners enroll or renew, they receive a free class coupon for classes at the Co-op where we charge a fee, and also receive a free reusable bag that can be used at the checkout line. When you reuse bags at the Co-op, as noted earlier in the article, your bag reuse supports the Double Dollars Fund.
LANGUAGE TRANSLATION SERVICES: VISIT CUSTOMER SERVICE FOR ASSISTANCE
We announced last December that the Co-op offers language translation services for our customers who speak little to no English, and it’s an announcement worth repeating in case you missed it. Thanks to an on-demand phone service called LinguaLinx, we are now able to provide better customer service to our non-English speaking customers with a simple phone call that connects us to interpreters who collectively speak over 100 languages. Looking for some of our written materials? We are also continuing to print and keep updated copies of our Ownership brochures, information about Double Dollars, and the Owner contract in both Spanish and Hmong, and we are just about to also make the Access Discount form available in these two languages as well. More resources from National Co+op Grocers are also available in Spanish at www.willystreet.coop/know-your-food. If you know customers who may benefit from this service, please have them see Customer Service for assistance.
TOURS AND OUTREACH EVENTS ON REQUEST
In addition to the classes we regularly schedule and promote on our calendar, did you also know that our staff also take requests for tours and outreach events? Groups can request a tour or an event on our website at www.willystreet.coop/submit/outreach-tour-request, and select either one of our “Simply” classes about the Bulk aisle, Cheese department, Meat department, Produce section, shopping local or reading labels; or ask for a discussion about shopping seasonally, on a budget, or to learn about our history and cooperative structure. Tours and outreach events are free of charge, and they’re a fun way to learn more about our store and creative ways to shop the store the way you’d like!
Private cooking classes are also available at our East and West Community Rooms, and you can request a quote for classes at www.willystreet.coop/submit/private-class-request. The cost of a private class is determined based on the length of the class, cost of ingredients, and instructor fees. Upon selecting a menu, day and time, a quote will be delivered.
Groups interested in either tours, outreach events, or private classes are asked to schedule four weeks in advance, as that gives us proper opportunity to schedule our staff or private instructors. All requests are taken online at the links cited above.
FRUIT BASKETS AND COLORING SHEETS FOR KIDS
Did you know that when children shop with their parents, they can have a free piece of fruit when they shop? We also have coloring sheets available for kids to color while they’re enjoying time in the commons with you. The fruit baskets at Willy East and Willy West are near Customer Service and in Produce at Willy North.
BIKE TRAILERS AND HAND CARTS AT EAST AND NORTH
With spring on the way, it’s also a good time to remind those of you getting your bikes and nice walking shoes out that if you ever purchase more than might be convenient to carry home on your bike or on your arm, we have bike trailers and hand carts available for you if you shop at East or North. Usage is free for Owners, and all you have to do is stop by Customer Service to check one out and then return it the next day.
Whether you’re looking to stretch your budget a little further, understand what we have to offer better, or are in search of new fun ways to enjoy your Co-op, we hope this round-up of some of these offerings are a worthwhile reminder of what we can do for you.