General Manager's Blog - August

by Kenna S. Eaton

 

Each month, I report to the board on how we are progressing on our long-term goals, which we call our Ends. These Ends reflect our aspirations—what we want to accomplish—and they are what makes us different from a regular grocery store. We publish these reports as a blog to keep our member-owners up to date on what we are doing. This spring, the board finished reviewing and revising our Ends with the help and suggestions of our staff and our members.

The reports are organized by our five Ends, although not all are discussed in every report. Our refreshed Ends say that, as a result of all we do—

-     Our community is well-served by a strong cooperative grocery store, integral to the lives of our customers, our farmers, and our producers.

-     Our community has a resilient local and regional food economy, supported by our Co-op and our community partners.

-     Our staff and board have the knowledge, skills, and passion to make our cooperative thrive.

-     Our members and customers are proud to shop at a local cooperative grocery that is working to reduce its impact on the environment.

-     Our community is informed, engaged, and empowered to join us in making a difference.

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August General Manager’s Report

Market Relevance

We’re done with expanding and refreshing the store!! We held our Grand Reveal on Friday August 16. Deb and I guided interested members through our new backrooms, while staff and board raffled off prizes, played music, grilled corn, ate cake, cut ribbons, sampled local delectables, and generally celebrated the end of our project. This was our opportunity to thank our members for their patience and to celebrate our successful collaboration—keeping our store relevant to this generation of co-operators, and the next!

Food System Development

In the most recent four quarters, we worked with 130 different Local farmers and producers, which accounted for 12% of all purchases. In June, not including produce, we sold 470 unique Local 5 items, just over $100,000. The Personal Care department had the highest number of local items sold, 21% of their total! Grocery had the highest sales, just over $20,000. Floral, food service local vendors (like Anca), and meat were not far behind, while Produce sold over 400 half-pints of local raspberries!

We also brought in two new Local 5 items in June—one floral and one beer—and 29 new Local WA items:  9 from Big Dipper (in mercantile); 11 personal care from Uncle Harry's and Island Thyme; 6 beers; 2 meat products; and 1 supplement. Wow!

Thriving Workplace

As part of our recent remodel, we relocated our staff recruitment materials to the front of the store by the community bulletin boards, and an interesting result has been an increase in the number of “Hearty Thank You” nominations submitted by members for our staff. In fact, the most recent recipient of this award, Kathy P., was nominated entirely by members!

In July, as a break from the hard work of the remodel, our fun committee held a BBQ lunch for staff out on the lawn by the administrative offices, with Jacob grilling “to order.”

Environmental Stewardship

A guide to plastic-free produce storage is now available in the store and online, showcasing tips and tricks to extend the life of produce without plastic. I would love to say we made it ourselves, but the truth is that it was created by the East End Co-op, and they are sharing it with other cooperatives—a great example of co-ops supporting co-ops!

Our 2018 Sustainability Impact Report for members should be available soon. I have been very impressed by our collective ability to reduce our water and propane use and our green house gas emissions during a year of construction and changes. I look forward to recording the decrease in energy usage as a result of the new equipment and lights throughout the store.

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Our green team held a waste audit on July 4th, where they gallantly emptied our dumpster of 24 hours of accumulated trash—opening all the bags, sorting the contents, and weighing the results. We got some good data, and we were pleased to see that our staff is still doing a great job of recycling what they can.

Outreach

The City of Port Townsend library drop box has returned! After a long absence, we are super excited to have the box back, freshly refurbished and hungry for our returned books.

The Co-op was a stop on the inaugural Parkways adventure, sponsored by the County Health Improvement Plan (CHIP), where the community walked, biked, and played through the streets of Port Townsend. The purpose was to “strengthen our community wellness and sense of place through reclaiming our streets and promoting healthy living, collaboration within neighborhoods, and access to community resources.” We sold freshly grilled hot dogs, sparkling water, and Clif Bars to hungry participants.

And finally, we are excited to welcome the Recovery Cafe to our part of town. Located at the corner of Kearney and 19th (just up the street two blocks), the café will offer a welcoming space for people in need of community. They are excited to take our community table (made from a bowling alley lane), and we are thrilled to be an active participant in helping nourish our neighbors.