Business After Hours a Sweet Success

Business After Hours a Sweet Success

bah signSome guests of the Yelm Co-op’s Business After Hours woke up with truffles on the brain. That’s not surprising, given the culinary tour de force put on by local chef Dawn Young, who created a variety of simple but unique appetizers for approximately 20 visitors from the Yelm Area Chamber of Commerce Thursday night.

“We are so amazed by the generosity of the Co-op and the support their members provide,” says Chamber Administrative Assistant Line Critchfield. “It’s impressive to see an event like this go off so smoothly and have such great turnout.”

Board President Bill Wyman was also happy with the event. “Everybody who was there had a really good time,” he says. “It’s great to be able to show how far we’ve come in such a short time. It’s been just eight years since we were in the parking lot in the Worm Farm.”

All of the appetizers were created using food from the Co-op’s shelves, and Dawn noticed a common reaction. “A lot of people were surprised to find out how easy and healthy things were, especially the desserts,” she says.*

Events like the Business After Hours are important for increasing awareness, says Bill. “Although a lot of the community knows us, a lot of local businesses don’t. We’ve grown consistently every single year since we started.”  

Guests went away with Co-op bags filled with a sampling of goodies the store carries – and a lingering memory. In the words of one wistful visitor, “Those truffles would have made a great breakfast.”

*Note: Recipes are still available through the Co-op.

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Yelm Co-op to Host Business After Hours

Yelm Co-op to Host Business After Hours

avocado trufflesAttention Yelm Chamber of Commerce members! The Yelm Food Cooperative is hosting a Business After Hours event this Thursday, May 21st. Grab this opportunity to explore Yelm’s only natural foods market, learn about the Yelm Farmers Market, and sample some delicious appetizers prepared by Dawn Young, formerly of Early Dawn’s Eatery.
When: Thursday, May 21st from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Where: The Yelm Food Cooperative, 308 E. Yelm Avenue
“It’s a chance to enjoy catered food, become a member of the Co-op, sample wines from The Wine Cellar, or become a donor,” says board member Terry Kaminski. “It’s a forum where everything is available.” Farmers Market Manager Karen Rae will also be on hand to answer questions and explain sponsorship opportunities.
“All of the appetizers will be created using products that come directly off the Co-op shelves and we’ll be providing little recipe cards if people want to go home and replicate them,” says Dawn. “Everything that we’re serving will have no cooking involved, just preparation, which makes them perfect for quick and easy summer serving, especially with graduations and all of the summer holidays coming up.” Note: these will include avocado truffles with cocoa and Himalayan salt, pictured above.
Terry adds that the event will also include several door prizes. Most importantly, she says, “This event is about expanding awareness. We want people to know what the Co-op has to offer.”  

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Tina Maggio is Beautifying Yelm, One Sign at a Time

Tina Maggio is Beautifying Yelm, One Sign at a Time

20150512_100843When you drive by the Yelm Food Co-op, probably the first thing that catches your eye is a sign – a beautifully lettered, colorful, hand-drawn creation advertising produce and wine. That sign and others like it, including the blackboard menu at Garden to Gourmet and posters for Standing Room Only productions at the Triad Theater, all come from one person: local artist Tina Maggio.   Tina regularly volunteers her time and talent at the Co-op.
Although she’s been shopping at the store since it opened, she first became a volunteer when the store changed locations. “It wasn’t a conscious decision,” she explains.  “I jumped in because I’d met some really cool people at the former little store. I thought, “They need help.”
Her first experience was painting the inside of the new building. “Carol Franks, Linda Shub and I were up on the scaffolding painting, laughing and having a good time. That’s what made it fun – the people I worked with,” she says.
That continues to hold true today. Tina also volunteers for the annual Gift of Gobble project, which provides over 100 Thanksgiving meals to families in need. “It’s my favorite thing to help with, because it’s the same people who started the project and they’re still there every year. We make it a fun day,” she says. Fun, she adds, is critical for volunteers.   “I have to be honest; If it weren’t for the people I enjoyed being with, I wouldn’t do it. We’re giving the time, so we might as well have a good time.”
One of her regular volunteer tasks is to create little signs for the produce. Because Tina is Tina, the signs are miniature works of art. “I want them to look beautiful,” she says. “It’s the same with the sign out front. I want to beautify the city, so people drive by and say, ‘Oh, that’s pretty.’ If it looks nice and makes the business more attractive, why not? I think Yelm could use a little beautifying.”
Remarkably, Tina is self-taught. “My dad was an artist and did some lettering,” she says. “I used to watch him.” In high school, she took a two week class in lettering and was hooked from then on. She got as many books as she could on the subject and learned as she went. “I was inspired,” she says.
Today, it’s the people at the Co-op that continue to inspire her. “I can go in almost any day, running in for milk or fruit, and there’s always someone I know or haven’t seen for a while. It’s this little hub, a meeting place which I really like,” she says.  “I love the atmosphere of the store as it is now – warm and inviting.”
If she could change one thing, it would be to increase community involvement, particularly in the area of volunteering.  “A lot of the same people are still doing the same things,” she says. “It seems like they’re still carrying it. It would be cool if there were more new people coming in.”
Aside from that, she hopes that awareness continues to grow in Yelm and surrounding areas.  “Everybody eats, everybody loves food,” she says.  “It would be great to see more people who live in the area shopping at the Co-op, rather than just saying, ‘Oh, I’ll go to Safeway. It’s cheaper.’ It’s about bringing people together over food.”

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New Kids’ Program Comes to Farmers Market

New Kids’ Program Comes to Farmers Market

child with vegetableGood news, parents! Your kids will have a whole new reason to get excited about the Yelm Farmers Market this season. Don’t be surprised if they develop a passion for vegetables and start shopping without you. Other side effects may include financial literacy, a sudden interest in gardening and newfound haggling skills.

The source of all this excitement is a program called The Power of Produce, which was originally developed by The Oregon City Farmers Market four years ago. “It was so successful that markets all around the country are now taking it on,” says Market Manager Karen Rae. “The idea is to introduce children to vegetables and fruit by having a kids’ club at the market.”

Children ages 5 to 12 can join the free club, at which point they’re given a badge and a small shopping bag. “When they come back every week and register, they get two dollars of market tokens that they get to spend on fruit or vegetables or a plant that grows food,” Karen explains. “They get to choose.”

Although the original purpose of the club was to empower kids to make healthy food choices, the benefits have proven to be much greater. “They’ve found that the kids become much more involved in the market,” says Karen. “It’s no longer just mom and dad going to the market with the kids dragged along behind, it’s now their shopping experience as well. They are getting to interact with the farmers directly and try all these new things. Parents are just thrilled with what’s happening, because kids are driving the purchase of vegetables and fruit and eating differently.”

 Another benefit is financial literacy. “The groups who are monitoring the success of the program are seeing kids saving their tokens for several weeks or pooling with their siblings,” she says. “They’re not spending their money that week, but saving for plants or bigger items. In this day and age I don’t know how many kids get to deal with actual currency.”Karen is currently accepting sponsors for the program, which she hopes will run during all 22 Sunday markets. “What other markets have found is that as long as they have enough sponsorship to get off the ground, the community sees the value of the program and no one wants it to stop because it’s run out of funding,” she says.

If you’re interested in learning more about sponsorship opportunities, contact Karen Rae at 360-894-1164 or  Sponsorship and donation information is also directly available on the website

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JOB LISTING – Work at the Yelm Food Co-op

yelm food co-op

Company: Yelm Food Cooperative

Description: Grocery Clerk

Grocery Clerk Job Purpose: Sustain and improve store sales by demonstrating excellent customer service.

 Summary: This is a part time job with a range from 15 to 30 hours per week. The duties involve working in most every part of the store. We would prefer an applicant who has a solid history of employment, but we will train someone who shows initiative.  The ideal candidate would have a background in retail, particularly grocery.

Grocery Clerk Job Duties:

  • ·         Transacting purchases at the Point of Sale with proficiency and accuracy.
  • ·         Demonstrating excellent customer service before, during, and after a sales transaction.
  • ·         Possessing great interpersonal skills with paid and volunteer staff members.
  • ·         Maintaining the store floor by stocking shelves, cleaning, facing, and fronting.
  • ·         Handling paperwork meticulously when drafting orders and processing memberships.
  • ·         Conducting inventory with care and precision.
  • ·         Solving math problems quickly on the fly.

Skills/Qualifications: POS systems (Keystroke); learning quickly; adapting to changes easily; front-end operations; proficiency with Microsoft Office; writing cleanly and clearly; buying and purchasing; natural foods product knowledge; managing personnel; financials and metrics.

Wage: The pay scale starts from $11-$14/hour, depending on experience. One week of vacation will be issued after one full year of service. This position will remain open until filled.

Please stop by the store in order to fill-out an application. Please email cover letters and resumes to

 Yelm Food Cooperative is a natural foods grocery store that has been in operation for nearly seven years. Located in the same building as Gordon’s Garden Center, Yelm Food Co-op began and sustains operations with the support of community members through member dues and patronage. We are located in downtown Yelm at 308 E Yelm Avenue.

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