2017: From your General Manager
As I think about the past year with our co-op I am both amazed and incredibly grateful for how much we have accomplished together. We began 2017 with just seven months under our belts and 1,579 member owners. Like every business, we have challenges. But as the only community owned business in East Aurora, we have the great advantage of being now 1,780 owners strong and growing. Along with that, our sales have grown 15% on average, month over month from last year.
This past spring, we were honored to receive the award for “Best Startup Co-op” in the nation. Again, it’s all thanks to member-owners, who recognized the value that a co-op would bring to the community. With your input, co-op staff has been able to refine both our product selection and improve how we work. We are committed to continuous improvement, so keep it coming!
Again, thanks to your support and advocacy by our generous friends at Lexington Co-op in Buffalo, we attained full membership of National Cooperative Grocers in May. This provides our store access to copious resources in all areas of the natural foods industry and to the best practices of over 140 other successful co-ops throughout the nation. Most importantly, it triggered one of the biggest milestones for our business: this fall we embarked on two new pricing programs. Co-op Basics, which enabled us to lower pricing on everyday staples, and Co-op Deals, exciting biweekly specials to everyone who shops the co-op. If you haven’t been into the store since these pivotal changes, get in here and check it out. Look for the sale flyer in the EA Advertiser or Elma Review twice monthly, and make shopping at your co-op a new year’s resolution!
Member-ownership offers new benefits too. In 2017, the co-op introduced special ordering. Member-owners are able to purchase products by the case for a 10% discount. In addition, members now receive $1.00 off of the hot bar and salad bar daily, and coffee and tea are only 99 cents every day. (That is, except before 9:00 am when coffee is only fifty cents for everyone.) Daily discounts on fresh ground peanut butter, select bulk, bananas, local apples plus revolving monthly deals on local products are more new reasons to thank yourself for becoming a member.
Finally, one of our biggest accomplishments this year is the significant strides on our capital campaign. This both helped us repay the debt we owed from our construction phase and restore some of our working capital for operations. We still have work to do on this front in 2018, but are heartened with the strong show of support that made EACM so successful to date. Not only is it a great relief to have gotten this far in the campaign, but of equal importance, it reflects the strength of our co-op. We are a small co-op with great capacity. Here’s to great things ahead!
All of my best in the coming year!