Is the Co-op too Expensive?

Recently one of our staff met some friends shopping in another local grocery store and got into the conversation as to why they didn't shop at the Co-op instead.

The answer was, in short, that our prices are too high. That drove them to shop at a large supermarket that does sometimes have better prices because they buy in enormous volumes nationwide; but their profits flow out of Yelm back to their home state providing little long-term benefit to Yelm.

This conversation was passed on to our past Store Manager, and present Board of Directors Vice-President, Aaron Rodgriguez. His reply beautifully responds to the issue which has been one we have heard since we opened the store in 2007. Here is his reply to our staff member regarding her friend's comments:

“Do these people live in Yelm? If so, ask them if they know what it means to their community to support the YFC. Whole Foods is significantly more expensive than we are so I would ask that person to cost compare us.

For the person who says we are too small, tell him or her that the more members we have the more support exists to move to a larger space. If they shop at Oly Co-op let them know that it took Oly 10 years to add the second store and we are in year 4 and looking to move.

At the end of the day, we can't convert everybody, so let them know that you will still be their friend even after we move to our new location with all of the wonderful space and amenities but that you will never let them forget how short sighted they were ; )

Also let them know that shopping at the Co-op is investing in the growth and prosperity of Yelm and if

they can't see that then they can continue to shop at Safeway until the distribution channels are interrupted and food no longer appears on the shelves as readily as it once did and that priority will be given to those who have shared the vision of the Co-op from the beginning.

Lastly, feel free to tell them that they could easily volunteer 5 hours a week and receive a 20% discount on groceries that would make us the best deal in town.”

Part of the reason we are driving hard towards expansion is to be able to buy in larger quantities and to be able to take advantage of supplier specials which will allow us to pass on the savings to our members and customers and at the same time allow us to maintain the margins we need to pay for more staff, buy equipment, maintain what we have, modernize systems, etc, etc in order to provide ever better levels of service and improve the shopping experience for everyone.

The larger stores also have the ability to spread their margin requirements across a wider range of products many of which do not meet the rigorous quality standards that we have set for our products. Your store's motto follows our mission statement of providing the highest quality merchandise that we can. It has never been “Always Low Prices!”, it has always been
“Always Best Products!”.

Please hang in there with us as so many of you have from our very modest beginnings in April 2007. Your continued patronage and support through member fees and donations and volunteering will help us grow our store to the level we all want to see it at.

Go Co-op!

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You Do NOT Want to Miss This!

annual meetingSeptember 18th, 2011, a day that will live in the history of your Co-op, is the day of our next Annual Meeting.

It will be at 2 p.m. at the Yelm Senior Center on 103rd, just past the intersection with Creek Street.

You want to be here because you will be voting for the new Board of Directors who will be leading your Co-op into the exciting future of 2012 and beyond.

You'll get to hear a re-cap of the year's activities and the details of your store's amazing growth! There will also be updates on the initial exploration of a new site for the store so that we can serve you even better.

Don't miss this! Put the date Sept 18, 2pm in your calendar today.

This is YOUR Co-op – Your store – You are an Owner – Let Your Voice Be Heard!

Go Co-op!

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This Sunday July 10th at the Co-op:

Gary Di Donato has spent years researching many types of healing modalities. He spends the second Sunday of each month at the store, ONLINE SKRABELODDER    spilleautomater -BONUSSER    PROV GRATIS       ? DE BEDSTE KASINOER ? O BETSAFE   O BETWAY   O spilleautomater EURO   O UNIBET   O BETFAIR   O PARTY spilleautomater    O BET365   O EU spilleautomater Du behover ikke l?ngere at lede efter skrabelodder pa gaden. answering nutritional questions. We are open from 12 pm to 5 pm on Sundays.

Check out samples of our many new products. See you at the store.

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The Grapevine – Number 2

Here is the 2nd issue of our new newsletter called The Grapevine. We are very proud of this – it is informative, beautiful and fun to create!

This issue covers some great stuff:

=> Changes in management – Our new Co-Store Managers
=> Expansion plans and where we are headed
=> Fundraising activities
=> Buyer’s Bite – what’s new in the sore
=> The Vegan Corner
=> …and lots more

Get your copy of the latest The Grapevine here:
YFC Grapevine Volume1 Issue2

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Yelm Food Co-op celebrates Ice Cream!

Even if the sun isn’t out just yet, come see our amazing selection of ice creams.

Tallenti’s Pistachio, Caramel Sea Salt, Double Chocolate and Raspberry Sorbet; Reeds Ginger Ice Cream; Three Twins Organic Cardamom; Laloo’s Goat Vanilla and Chocolate Ice Creams; Larry & Luna’s Dairy Free Coconut Vanilla and Chocolate Ice Creams; Living Harvest Dairy Free Tempt Hemp Vanilla and Coffee Biscotti Ice Creams; Dairy Free Rice Dream Vanilla Bites; So Delicious Coconut Sandwiches; Jolly Llama Sorbet Squeeze Ups; Gluten Free; along with a whole display of Julie’s and Alden’s Organic Ice Creams, Bars and Sandwiches.

Whatever your taste….we’ve got you covered.



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Help Your Co-op! Fundraiser for Marketing Study

fundraiser

As you know, the Co-op Strategic Planning Committee is in the initial phases of planning for store expansion. The replies we got from you in our survey earlier this year were overwhelming in favor of a bigger store (68%).  To accomplish this there are certain steps that we and the Board of Directors must take in order to assure all of the member/owners that the expansion can be accomplished with minimum levels of risk.

One of the things we have been doing is consulting with Co-op experts, both at the Northwest Cooperative Development Center (NWCDC) in Olympia and the Cooperative Development Services (CDS) in Minneapolis, Minn. Both have long histories working with cooperatives in all aspects of the business: start-up, expansion, marketing, management, capitalization, membership, financial feasibility, store design and so on.

We are working with the NWCDC on a preliminary cost analysis which will be done by the end of June. This study is financed by USDA Rural Development funds so we have NO out-of-pocket expense for this valuable work. Next, we need to have a detailed Market Analysis and Site Evaluation done by CDS and beyond that an Internal Readiness Study also by CDS. The Internal Readiness Study will evaluate and make recommendations on staffing the store and Board management. In addition, we will have them do a more in-depth Financial Feasibility Study.  The detailed Market Analysis, Site Evaluation and Financial Feasibility Study will be required by all of the investors and lenders of major funding that we anticipate approaching for the expansion funds.

The total estimated cost of all of these studies combined is approximately $27,000.

To raise this money we are asking you, the member/owners of the Co-op to help by making any contribution you can.

We are looking at grants and loans that might be available to help us as well. But, this is YOUR store and it’s about the store’s FUTURE!

Your management is dedicated to growing the Co-op safely and wisely and results of these studies will help them in making the decisions necessary to fulfill all our goals.

Donations will be being accepted at the store starting June 1st.

Thanks for your support.

Bill Wyman

Board President

Go Co-op!

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The Grapevine – Our First Newsletter!

Welcome to our first news letter!

The Grapevine. Rooted in community, Everyone welcome!

  • OUR FIRST ISSUE – A letter from the President
  • Managers Corner – The year in review and ahead
  • Strategic Planning – Feasbility Study
  • Community
  • Buyers Bite
  • Community Education
  • Volunteers
  • Store Special Events
  • Vegan Corner
  • And more…

The Grapevine Vol1 Issue 1

You will need Adobe Reader to view the newsletter. You can get a free version here: Adobe Reader 10.1

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Seven Reasons to “Eat Local”

Eating local foods supports our local economy. A study by the New Economics Foundation in London shows that for every dollar spent locally, two times that much is generated as income for the local economy.   (reference)

Locally grown produce has more nutritional value and better taste. Most plant foods purchased in chain grocery and big-box stores have been in transit for days or weeks.   Co-ops and farmers’ markets sell at least some produce picked in the last 24-48 hours before they reach you, which means they have longer to ripen on the plant, tree, or vine and develop optimal flavor and nutrition.  Remember, a plant food’s nutritional value begins to decline the moment it’s picked, sort of like the value of a new car when you drive it off the lot.  And foods with higher nutritional content, more “aliveness” if you will, simply have more flavor.

Buying local food keeps us in touch with the seasons. By eating what our local environment offers as the seasons change, we eat foods at their peak of taste, their greatest abundance, and lowest cost.  It connects us with the flow of nature and saves us money.  Now that’s a win-win!

Buying locally educates us about our own food culture. Whether it’s the dairy farmer who brings her fresh milk to our market or the baker who grinds his own wheat for those luscious loaves, every grower, artisan and producer has a story that contributes richly to our local food culture.  We connect with our community when we learn their stories.

Local food translates to more variety. Local farmers get creative, growing unusual varieties and diverse crops that don’t need to be genetically modified on a massive scale to withstand rough handling and long transit times.  And you get to surprise dinner guests with Flashy Troutback Romaine and Anuenue (Hawaiian for rainbow) lettuce instead of the mass-produced, rough-and-ready Romaine and Iceberg.

Eating local improves air quality. A March 2005 study by the journal Food Policy determined that the miles food travels before we consume it creates environmental damage that outweighs the benefit of buying organic. (reference)  A gradual move on the part of each food consumer toward a local organic diet will make a difference both to our health as individuals and to the health of our communities in every regard.

Eating local farmers’ foods sustains the land.  Small farmers rely on their land to yield for them year after year; they have a vested interest in environmentally sound agricultural practices that allow the land that is their livelihood to continually renew its fertility.

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Community in Yelm

Our Beloved Yelm Food Co-op has a history of something more than food, or what we can call food for the soul.

We have always dreamed about community life, in a way that sharing is so natural that children have so many aunties uncles and grandpas and grandmas. A big family laughing about everything while working together, and delighted nights by the fire can bring great stories and fabulous ideas for the community to be more abundant and happy. Music is part of the atmosphere and the moon full on us creating multidimensional images with the fire and the wind, and the dancers, dreamers, that suddenly are living the dream.

This is us, and our reality, with you, your dreams and realities, all weaving this new ways of living and loving.

We started the Yelm Co op, as a movement, five years ago or so, with a very profound concept.

The idea was to create a central place where the community can interact, buying from each other’s neighbor, and providing for the community what the community needs, by creating jobs and educating its people.

If we don’t have this central point we will go to the next town to buy our food and everything. We spend time, money, and create contamination in doing so, and the neighbor who was growing a garden for us and for the income for his family will be ignored.

A community gets strong when the money stays in the community, being used by its people as a tool for interaction. If we buy from our neighbor, our neighbor grows, and then has money to hire us, in all kind of jobs and skills. A community who loves its people is a community who appreciate the people by creating jobs and opportunities.

If we buy from corporations we throw our money out of the community, and we give more power to the corporations. If we buy from Co-Ops, Farmers Markets, CSA, or from the farmers and neighbors we empower our people, we build community.

Also a healthy community is one who protects the environment as a source of life by supporting organic practices, educating the people, and helping each individual to be sovereign.

Love is a practical experience when we can understand and exercise the little changes that a wise community can do.

To be sustainable only requires responsible people, protecting the environment, the people, and the future,

Local is Real. Local is Love. Local is Us!

Our Fabulous Yelm Co-op will continue with your sharings and interactions. We have a forum now for everybody to participate. Let’s do it!

Sustainable, Sovereign, Super!!!

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Feed A Family: Give the Gift of Gobble

This Thanksgiving the Yelm Food Co-op will contribute to our community’s ongoing work of nourishing families in need through a project called “Feed a Family:  Give the Gift of Gobble.” The project will provide a family from each church in the Yelm area with all the plentiful, healthy ingredients for a full Thanksgiving feast.  Each meal will include a 16-pound free-range turkey, fresh organic potatoes and vegetables, stuffing and gravy mix (both gluten-free, by choice), cranberry sauce, Stone Ground bakery dinner rolls, and dessert.  To facilitate this, donations of any dollar amount are being accepted at the Yelm Food Co-op until November 30, 2010.

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Yelm Food CO-OPportunity Day

On November 14, 2010, Yelm Food Co-op will host its first Annual CO-OPportunity Day from 1:00-4:00 PM.  The featured guest will be Gary Di Donato, the brains behind Smart Nutrition in Tumwater.  Gary will be sharing his extensive knowledge of nutrition gained during 20 years devoted to studying the herbal and dietary practices of cultures around the world.  He has expertise in how vitamins, minerals and other nutritional components promote optimal health and has helped countless people sort through the array of supplements available today.  The Co-op will offer members a Special Event discount of 10% off everything in the store, including its wide selection of nutritional supplements.  Non-members who elect to join and support the Co-op can pay $5.00 per month for 15 months to enjoy member benefits immediately on CO-OPportunity Day.

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