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Customer Comments

CORRECTION
In September’s issue, we mistakenly ran an answer to a Customer Comment that stated you could get an additional 10% off almost any non-sale item if you purchase an entire case. This isn’t true for Owners who have a discount already attached to their account.Staff, Access and Board Member accounts cannot stack case discounts with their already existing discount. For more information on case discounts, please see Melissa Reiss’s article on page 10.


Street pulse
Q: I understand that the people who sell “Street Pulse” newspaper are no longer allowed to stand on the coop property. Most recently, I haven’t noticed the vendors standing on the sidewalk, and it is far less easy for me to find them to buy the paper. I don’t know why the policy has changed. I would like you to re-examine the policy and change it, so that the salespeople can once again stand near the entrance to the coop.


My experience with the Street Pulse vendors is a positive one. Each person I’ve encountered stands quietly holding the paper, or at most says “Street Pulse” in a normal tone and volume. They do not block car traffic, people on foot nor the entrance/exit to the coop. They are always polite and display good manners saying “thank you” “have a good day.” They do not cause any problems, nor do they hinder the coop business in any way.


The selling of the paper is a way for people who have been marginalized to make a living in a respectable, responsible manner. They have been a good addition to our community. I believe that we should support “Street Pulse” by allowing the vendors to sell the paper at the most reasonable and convenient location for potential buyers to see them.


Please allow the vendors of “Street Pulse” to sell their paper by the coop entrance.


A: Thanks for writing. We have not changed our policy regarding StreetPulse. We did have a long stretch this year where we did not allow any organizations to table, musicians to play music, or StreetPulse vendors to use our Willy East property, and that was due to lack of sufficient safe space outside during the store remodel. We just started in the last couple weeks allowing organizations, musicians, and StreetPulse to return and parties interested in using our property can go to our website or contact us for details as to how to schedule time. Please let me know if you have further questions. -Kirsten Moore, Director of Cooperative Services


Canola oil
Q: I would like to see a section that is called the “Canola Oil Free Section” and keep it out of the Deli food too! Thanks.


A: Thanks for the comment! We don’t generally merchandise sections for any specific ingredient preference, in part because manufacturers often change their recipes without notice, which would make it logistically difficult. I’d encourage you to read labels to be sure which items do not contain canola. Re: the Deli’s use of canola: our Prepared Foods Director is currently researching alternate oils and will switch our recipes if he can find something that would not affect pricing too much. Thanks! –Megan Minnick, Purchasing Director


Customer service
Q: Thank you for wonderful customer service for replacing my dropped green juice. It’s the only thing that invigorates me after work. This was especially nice since I just suffered a death in my family.


A: Thanks for the kind words. I will definitely let my staff know. Best, Gina Jimenez-Lalor, Deli Manager–East


Tipping
Q: Please allow us to tip the juice bar employees! I would love to show my appreciation for all their hard work, creativity, helpfulness and friendliness. They deserve a monetary “thank you” for their special service.


A: Thank you for the kind thoughts and intent. All of our staff—in all departments— are paid at least the Cooperative Grocer’s Network Living Wage. In years when we are profitable, our Board can (and almost always does) elect to profit share with all eligible staff. And...providing you the products and services we do is an effort that requires many teams’ investment. So while we thank you for the intent our policy is not to accept gratuity. –Dan Frost, Store Manager–East


Compact car parking
Q: Can you put a reminder in the newsletter about compact car parking? Parking a full-size car at an angle doesn’t make it a compact car. All it does is make it harder for those of us with compact cars to get in and out of our cars and the spaces. I even see this when there is plenty of full-size parking available. Thanks!


A: We can certainly post a reminder about compact car parking. Now that we won’t have construction vehicles in the lot we may have lightened up the competition for large vehicle parking. I’ll recommend posting this comment to our newsletter editor too. –Wynston Estis, Operations Manager


Money problems
Q: I joined Willy Coop when it began across next to Jolly Bob’s. The whole point in the cooperative idea was to pull together to get organic food at a reasonable price.


Well, they now used the money for a second location! And, both the stores are incredibly high priced! As high or higher than Whole Foods!! It is so sad as the idea was so fantastic. When you pay $8.50 for salad bar and $10.99/lb for chicken salad, it is disgusting! Also, now that the renovation is done (which I support!), everything went up at least a buck! I am really sad! I’d like this addressed in the newsletter as well. Sadly I have to join facebook to review on line.


A: Thanks for your comment! I’m sorry that you find our prices to be high. We routinely do price comparisons with other stores (including Whole Foods), and find that overall our pricing on comparable items is in-line or below that of our competitors. For example, the salad bar at Whole Foods is currently priced at $8.99/lb. All of the chicken salads they are currently carrying in their deli are $11.99/lb, and they don’t advertise any organic or local ingredients (all of the fresh produce and many of the other ingredients we use in our Delis are either organic or local).


Balancing the needs to sell the foods we carry at affordable prices and also continue to offer only the highest quality (organic, local, fair trade), is a constant challenge for us, and unfortunately we can’t always hit the mark on both sides of that scale. We do our best, and we continue to look for ways to bring less costly organic and natural foods to market.
Regarding the issue of our second site and Willy East remodel increasing prices, I can tell you with certainty that for as long as I’ve been at the Co-op (12 plus years), we have not changed the margins we use for pricing almost at all. If anything, our margins have gone down slightly as we’ve become larger and been able to take advantage of more economies of scale. If you’ve noticed any price changes in the last few months, it is because of a corresponding rise in the cost to us, and it is not related to the remodel.
Please let me know if you have any more questions or concerns, and thanks again for writing! In Cooperation, Megan Minnick, Purchasing Director


Small glass bottles
Q: I’m looking to make some essential oil combinations and am looking for small glass bottles to put them in. Specifically a 1-2 ml bottle. Do you carry those at either the east or the west location? Please let me know. I would rather buy local.


A: Thanks for checking with us regarding these small bottles. Neither location carries a bottle that small—we stock 1-4 oz bottles generally. The smallest bottle we have access to through our distributors is 2 drams—which is about 7-8 ml. I called Community Pharmacy inthe hopes that they would have your product—they have a nice selection of small apothecary/aromatherapy bottles—and they said that the smallest size they stock is 5 ml. I apologize that we couldn’t help! Thank you! Let me know if I can assist you further. –Angela Pohlman, Category Manager–General Merchandise


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