In the last issue of Solutions, our feature article was about food co-ops and how to assess their potential for adding new locations to existing operations. In this issue, we drill down to focus on how to prepare for this kind of growth by focusing on improving operational systems. Sure, it’s the nuts and bolts of retail, and who doesn’t know that stuff is important?
The thing that’s really exciting about it for us is that when our co-ops improve operations it’s often for the benefit of those working within our food co-op systems. When we say “improvement” we don’t mean exploitation, layoffs or cuts to benefits to pad the bottom line. We mean authentic improvement that strives to make a workplace safer and more efficient, and a better place to shop. We are motivated by this kind of improvement because it’s our belief that cooperative enterprises build a better world. How we do it is just as important as why we do it. Fortunately for all of us, there is a world of tools, technology, and data that can assist us.
That’s why the story of Spiral Natural Foods and their “restart” in their community is so great. It’s nice to know that a co-op didn’t have to close its doors. It’s even nicer to know that a community resource is reborn. Jeanie Wells predicts great things for them, and it’s the belief we all have in everyone’s potential that motivates us to improve what we do, too.