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Thank you again to customers who completed the July 2009 customer survey! We truly appreciate your feedback about how we are running your cooperative. It was great to read what we did that you liked and find out which areas we need to work on.

After the results were collected, collated, analyzed, formatted and distributed to Willy Street Co-op's department managers, I conducted a little survey of my own. I asked them, "Based on the results of the survey, what three improvements do you intend to make?" Below are their answers. If you have any questions about the survey or this article, feel free to contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 608-251-0884.

Dan Frost, Assistant Store Manager—Product, has pledged to:

  1. Continue to vigorously pursue better prices, and to study and revamp our selection of products with the intent of offering a more affordable alternative to trekking out to shop at multiple stores.
  2. Grow our well-renowned selection of local products throughout the store and will make those products more clearly identifiable to our shoppers.
  3. As we always have, constantly strive to improve our product knowledge and our service to you—despite your high regard for us in this area!

Our Merchandising Manager, Dean Kallas, vows to:

  1. Work hard to get more and even better deals to offer on promotion.
  2. Be more timely on my responses to Customer Comments.
  3. Strive to find even more local products to sell here.

Based on the survey results, Anya Firszt, General Manager, vows to:

  1. Continue pursuing a second retail location.
  2. When we do get a second retail location, have a meat counter and beer and wine section.
  3. Continue to work on improving the parking/traffic situation (introducing the “no parking during rush hour” spots in front of the Co-op was a first step).

Front End (Customer Service and Cashiers)
Front End Manager Kristin Esselstrom will enact the following ideas:

  1. An "I ♥ bagging" campaign. We want to bag your groceries! We will improve ways to approach bagging, offer more support, including carry out.
  2. Improve the cleanliness of the register area: more frequent wipe-downs between customers, creation of a checklist for register cleaning, and hourly Commons and bathroom cleaning as well.
  3. "Back to the bucket," meaning that cashiers will stand with their backs to their receipt bucket and facing forward, ready to greet customers. They will also make a concerted effort to not talk over customers and registers.

Produce Department
Andy Johnston, the Produce Manager, promises that he and his staff will:

  1. Work to improve communication and expectations with local and regional vendors to decrease the frequency of products we order being out-of-stock.
  2. Watch, and try new ways to creatively limit, the prices on staple items and offer a lower priced conventional option when necessary.
  3. Continuously evaluate and improve the level of customer service offered by the Produce department staff. Our team knows their produce well, we’ll help them help you more.

Deli, Bakery & Juice Bar
Our newest manager, Prepared Foods Manager Megan Blodgett, committed to:

  1. Continue expanding our product line, with a special focus on deli meats, gluten-free and vegan items, pre-made pizza dough, rolls and other savory bakery, raw items, and whole wheat/sugar free items.
  2. Work with staff to speed and enhance our customer service.
  3. Look for better, more user and eco-friendly packaging.

Production Kitchen
Three changes Josh Perkins, Production Kitchen Manager, will make in 2010 (with Megan's assistance) in response to the survey results are to:

  1. Offer promotional recipes and prepared foods items making use of exclusively local products at best seasonal prices.
  2. Establish green waste composting program for WSGC kitchen—aiming for zero waste by the end of 2010.
  3. Increase total expenditures on locally grown foods by at least 5%.

Wellness Department
Lisa Stag-Tout, the Wellness Manager, will:

  1. Begin a long-term effort to raise the bar on quality standards in our local marketplace.
  2. Search out more advantageous sourcing and negotiate better pricing on behalf of our owners, wherever possible.
  3. Work on reducing the frequency of out-of-stock products.

Grocery Department
Pearl Wienandt, our Grocery Manager, assures our customers her department will:

  1. Continue to research and add more local vendors’ products to our store.
  2. Add and update nutritional info and country of origin on bulk products.
  3. Reinvigorate our offerings throughout the store by eliminating duplicate products and slow sellers, and making make more room for new choices.

A total of 906 customers filled out the survey. Point totals are averages (in the AVE. column) of a six-point scale, with 1 being "least" and 6 being "most." In questions that offered an "Other" blank to fill in, entries were grouped under main headings and then counted; the top entries are listed, from most frequently mentioned to least. Unanswered questions are counted in the N/A column.

1.Please rate the Co-op overall on the following areas:
1a.Ability to meet your needs5.12211
1d.Overall staff customer service5.352
1e.Layout of store 5.0815
1f.Music played in the store4.77
1g.Selection of sale items4.7555
Special orders5.00   575
1i.Customer Service desk staff availability when you need them5.3778
1j.Other staff availability when you need them     5.2046
Staff friendliness5.35  
Staff product knowledge   5.32   70
1m.Your ease in finding desired product(s)5.073
1n.Innovation/being a leader in what we do5.2939


2.Please rate the product selection in these departments
2a .Body Care
2f.Frozen foods4.88
Grocery, packaged
4.75   65
2i.Meat& nbsp;    
Refrigerated foods
Supplements   5.23   278


3.Rate the checkout experience in the following areas
3a.Cashier efficiency
3b.Cashier friendliness
3c.Help in bagging your groceries
3d.Likelihood that lanes are staffed when necessary5.159
3e.Overall check-out satisfaction5.275


4.Which, if any, of the following have you experienced at Willy Street Co-op in the past two months?
4a.Damaged/spoiled item
4b.Difficulty in getting assistance5.19%
4c.Employee who was not helpful or friendly11.15%
4d.Inadequately trained employee/not knowledgeable3.64%
4e.Out-of-stock item
4f.Product rings up incorrectly at check-out6.51%
4g.Returning a product or getting a refund12.03%
Slow check-out   14.57%


5.Please indicate your top two reasons for not shopping the Co-op more often.
High prices   
5b.Inconvenient hours4.42%
5c.Inconvenient location27.37%
5d.Limited hot food case hours1.77%
5e.Limited selection25.83%
5f.Parking problems19.54%
5g.Poor service0.88%
Product quality0.88%
5i.Street traffic12.91%
5j.Other: Too far away/closer to another store, need products Co-op doesn't have, use Farmers' Markets/CSAs.   


6. What are your top three reasons for shopping at Willy Street Co-op?
6a. Because it’s a cooperative business 37.75%
6b. Bulk products 25.17%
>6c. Concern for responsible business practices (fair prices for farmers, etc.) 34.66%
6d.Concern for the environment and environmental issues 27.92%
6e.Convenience of access (close to home, on my way to work, etc.) 14.57%
6f.Emphasis on natural and organic products 58.39%
6g.Good product selection generally 14.68%
Gourmet products 2.54%
6i.Other 4.08%
6j.Nutritional and product information provided by the store 4.86%
6k. Opportunity for Owner involvement 3.20%
6l. Prices are fair and competitive 6.73%
6m. Produce department 25.61%
6n. Product quality 13.80%
6o. Atmosphere 9.49%
6p. Deli/Salad Bar 6.40%
6q. Focus on local products and vendors 36.53%
Other: Vegan/vegetarian/gluten-free foods, Seafood Center, Wellness Dept.


7.Please rate the importance of Co-op product criteria
Brand 3.08 27
7b.Cooperative ownership of manufacturer4.25 27
7c.Fair Trade5.00 9
7d.Independently produced4.66 21
7e.Locally grown/produced
5.46 4
7f.Organic certification4.99 6
7g.Price4.88 5
Product quality5.66 4


8.Which factor, if changed, would most improve the likelihood of your using Co-Shop (our online shopping and delivery service)?
Lower Fees
8b. Different delivery days0.66%
8c.Easier online interface
8d.Easier phone system0.66%
8e.More information10.71%
8f.Not interested68.76%


9. Which factor, if changed, would most improve the likelihood of your using our catering and prepared food special order services?
9a. Lower Prices
9b. Easier to use system 1.21%
9c. Larger Menu 4.97%
9d. More information 15.89%
9e. Not interested 54.97%
Blank 7.28%


10. How long have you been a member of the Co-op?
Not a member
10b. Less than a year 8.28%
10c. Over one year 26.60%
10d. Over five years 24.39%
10e. Over ten years 38.30%
Blank 1.77%


Please rate the product selection in these departments
11a. Younger than 17

11c. 23-3016.00%
11d. 31-4425.49%
11e. 45-5932.67%
11f.60 plus21.08%
Blank 1.65%

12. What is your zip code? (The most common response was 53703.)

13. How many in your household? (The most common response was 2 adults, 0 children.)

14.What is your approximate household income?
14a.14a. Less than $20,000
14b. $20,000-$50,00033.66%
14c. $50,000-$75,00025.50%
14d.$75,000 plus19.98%


15.What percentage of your total household grocery budget do you spend at Willy Street Co-op?
15a.Less than 10%
15c. 21–40%20.86%
15e. 61–80%12.91%
15f.more than 80%16.56%
Blank 4.08%


16.How often do you shop at the Willy Street Co-op?
16a. Couple times/year
16b. Once a month25.94%
16c. Once a week39.07%
16d. Several times a week26.16%
16e.  Once a day
Blank 2.65%


17. What other stores do you shop? (We've chosen to not publish the results of this question; our competition gets enough information from this already!)

18. Why do you shop at these other stores? (Circle top two)
18a. Better prices 52.10%
18b. Longer hours of operation 8.28%
18c. More convenient location 40.51%
18d. Products not offered by the Co-op 46.80%
18e.   Services not offered by the Co-op
18f. Other: closer to me/more convenient, prices low for decent quality
If you chose “Products not offered by the Co-op,” please list the products.
(Top responses were: beer, wine, fresh meat, paper products, and pet supplies.)
If you chose “Services not offered by the Co-op,” please list the services.
Not enough similar options were mentioned to form into meaningful groupings.


19. How do you save money when shopping? (Circle all that apply.)
19a. Buy bulk
19b. Coupons 47.46%
19c. Stock up on sale items 68.76%
19d. Use more than one store for best prices 49.56%
19e. Use one store to save time 11.37%
19f. Not a concern 5.30%


20. What are the top three things that you'd like to tell us?
(Top entries: I love the Co--op!, staff is great, I love the newsletter, parking/traffic around the store is difficult, open a second store [a variety of locations were mentioned, but Westside/Middleton was most-often mentioned], prices are high, thanks for carrying so much local food; please carry even more local food!)