Bobby Sullivan, the general manager of French Broad Food Co-op has some clear and direct ideas about how co-ops can and must thrive amidst growing competition. The area of Asheville, North Carolina is an extremely competitive market for natural foods, and the co-op needed to step up its game. By focusing on excellent service and marketplace differentiation as a co-op, they are seeing rapid sales growth, membership growth, and have been able to institute a living wage for staff. Sullivan’s advice? Stand tall as a truly locally-owned, community-oriented business. “We are what everyone is pretending to be,” he said.
Raising awareness of that difference is a cooperative’s greatest task, and French Broad set out to address this by both improving operations and amping up its marketing efforts, especially in the area of price perception. In this video, Sullivan outlines their co-op’s approach in a straightforward presentation designed to maximize authenticity, community connections and in-store experience.
Hear about his ideas, and how the French Broad Food Co-op in Asheville, NC is enacting these plans.