The Co-op Difference

Marketing Planning that Cuts Through the Clutter

Retailers face lots of challenges, profit margins are small, inventory needs to turn, and the competition is fierce. Getting customers into the store and keeping them satisfied should be everyone’s focus to boost sales and enhance profitability. Retailers faced with flat or declining sales need to take a closer look [...]

Marketing Systems Revamp Lifts Sales

Ashland Food Co-op Ashland, OR Ashland Food Co-op in Ashland, OR is a successful food co-op in an artsy university town that also draws a lot of year-round tourists. The co-op is especially known for its outreach and popularity in the community. Recently, they faced a dilemma about this very [...]

Leading Our Co-ops Beyond Customer Service to Cooperative Service

By Brittany Baird, Rebecca Torpie 194 Jan.-Feb. 2018 As food co-ops forge ahead in the “the new normal,” they often find themselves in the precarious place of trying to both differentiate from and conform to competitors. From the consistent progression of conventional grocery stores towards natural products offerings, to the growing threat [...]

Open Book Management: Now is the Time!

By Melanie Reid Co-ops continue to face an increasingly tough marketplace. Competition for employees is as tough as it is for food dollars. One strategy for attracting and retaining talented and passionate staff members is to build a culture of strong employee engagement. Open Book Management (OBM) has the potential to [...]

First Impressions and Long-lasting Relationships: The rewards of great customer service

By Michael McCary 186 Sept-Oct 2016 Providing an unbeatable shopping experience is no longer optional for cooperatives—it is imperative. In the growing and increasingly competitive world of natural foods, cooperatives need to perform better than their competitors, especially in providing outstanding customer service. Customer service is one of the key [...]

Implementing a Livable Wage in a Competitive Market

By Sarah Dahl, Lauren Olson 183 Mar-Apr 2016 Half of National Co+op Grocers member co-ops surveyed are under pressure to increase staff wages, according to a 2015 report. This pressure is not unique to co-ops. With efforts led by groups such as Fight for 15 and dialogues at local, state, [...]

The Spirit of Generosity

By Bill Gessner 178 May-June 2015 The collective progress in collaboration that the food co-op sector has achieved over the past decade has been significant and inspiring. “Cooperation among cooperatives,” through the Cooperative Grocers Associations and other vehicles, is building a strong, powerful momentum. An underlying core value that has [...]