Amazon (Seattle, WA) announced that next week it will finalize its acquisition of Whole Foods Markets (Austin, TX) – the enormous natural foods brand with 450+ stores nationwide. (One debuts in the Northtowns next month.) As Amazon promotes consumer benefits of the merger, stocks of other publicly traded grocers are dropping, and giant supermarket chains are scrapping expansion plans in response.
Here in East Aurora, your financial investment in your co-op is the same today as it was yesterday. Your co-op can’t be bought, because it belongs to you, your neighbors, and thousands of others here in WNY. Every co-op member-owner is an equal partner in this business, and that will never change. Stock prices will not go haywire. Developments and perks you’ll see in your store will come as a reflection of the needs of our unique community of shoppers.
Will big grocery industry changes affect the co-op? Maybe. Some impact is likely. But through community ownership, we control the success of our business together. We choose the food on the shelves and the farms we support. Co-op shoppers are able to select each and every ripe tomato and locally grown peach. These are our strengths. You can’t ship ripe peaches! Every time we walk through the sliding doors, take a seat on the patio, and invite friends to visit our store, we’re treading our own path, competing with the greatest grocery giants in the country.
In times of industry turmoil, we can be confident of one thing. Our co-op was created by and for Western New Yorkers. We built the store with our neighbors. Together we open the co-op every morning, close it every night and sustain it every day. Your co-op is here for our community.