Operations Manager’s Report, Winter 2023
by Jezebel Crow
Meet your Grocer Anji Domino.
I am sure most of you know Anji. She has worked at the Co-op for 15 or 20 years. She has been the buyer for the Produce Department and Body Care, Supplements, and Household. When Laura stepped down this fall, Anji took on Groceries and Frozen and is now the Lead Buyer for the Co-op.
As the Co-op’s sales have decreased, we have responded by getting fewer deliveries. It is important to be thrifty. If you are missing some favorite items, it is perhaps due to our ceasing to order from certain vendors. We are attempting to pay down debts and consolidate orders. UNFI, our main grocery supplier, is owned by Whole Foods – Amazon.
Last year, when we got in arrears with UNFI, they responded by only dealing with us if we agreed to let them automatically take funds out of our bank account within 15 days of a delivery. This borders on predatory capitalism and winds up taking funds from our local vendors.
As most of the best sellers at the Co-op are produce, milk, eggs, cheese, and other local items, we have responded by turning our focus more toward these local products and trying to pare down the grocery and frozen sections of the Co-op, while also sourcing smaller vendors of grocery items. Case in point, Cabot popcorn, potato chips, and macaroni and cheese. Also snacks and candy coming in from Faire, an on-line wholesaler of local items. Coming soon: bulk fruit and nuts from Equal Exchange.
So please bear with us as we attempt to adjust the Co-op away from the Amazon behemoth that is sucking the life out of the local economy. If you are really missing an item, consider Special Ordering it. You will get a price break and help the Co-op. Do you know of any local vendors? Please let us know. Concerns and requests can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Meet your new Bulk Buyer: Deb Bothfeld.
Deb has been working for the Co-op for a couple of years now. You will be familiar with her cheerful presence at the register. When Cullen decided to step down from his position as the Bulk Buyer, Deb stepped up to the challenge. Once again, we are working on streamlining the bulk department to carry what sells, and cull what doesn’t. Any concerns or requests can be made directly to Deb, or sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be sure she gets them. Once again, please feel free to Special Order anything that you use a lot of.
Meet your new Gift Buyer: Deb Barnwell.
Deb Barnwell has been buying for the Bulk Herb and Tea department for over a year now. When Laura stepped down, she agreed to purchase for the Gift Department. So if you need prayer flags, incense, candles, scarves, mittens, or other sundries, address inquiries to: email@example.com.
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New and Returning Faces at the Register: While shopping at the Co-op, you might run into Shay or Rosemond, who are both former staff members who have returned to substitute, and help with receiving, respectively.
Christine Austin is a new substitute with a regular closing shift on Sundays. She is a true local and most famously, Rinny’s Mom.
And last but not least, Al Guy is a young social justice warrior from D.C. who does wonderful work in the produce department.
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A final word, we are heading into the leanest months of the year. First Quarter 2024 has the potential to make or break the Co-op. So please do not forget us. Come to the store for ingredients for heart-warming soup, fresh citrus, bread, cheese, coffee and tea. Stop by in the mornings for free coffee and to chat with the staff. Check out the freecycle store upstairs in the Community Center. Buy a friend a gift card so they can learn about the Improbable Store that is the Heart of Plainfield Village.