Your Board continues to focus on ensuring the sustainability of our beloved Co-op. We are working hard to address the challenges that CreekSide is still facing. Additionally, we’ve been speaking with many of our members and shoppers to hear more about how they feel the coop is doing and what they are looking for. We are committed to listening to your suggestions and concerns, and to communicate our efforts and progress more regularly. And we are serious about engaging you to help us find solutions for our Co-op.
Our collective success depends on our ability to harness the full strength of our community toward the common goal of a successful CreekSide Co-op. As many may know, we launched CreekSide Community Resources on Monday, August 15th, as an initiative to engage community resources (expertise and time) in advancing what has become four key areas, all of which are critical to making CreekSide better:
- Marketing. This group will be focused on increasing sales, shaping messages and communicating to our owner/members and the shopping public in store and externally through social media and other channels. We need to deploy effective marketing as a key driver of sales and getting more shoppers into the store.
- Staff Training and Development. This group will work on developing programs (training, incentive, etc.) that improve staff capabilities in customer service and sales and help build morale and a positive shopping experience.
- Prepared Foods and Catering. This group will work on ways of improving our offerings and our ability to consistently deliver a quality product and help distinguish this capacity as a key sales driver for the coop.
- Special Events In-Store and Community Outreach. This group will develop ways to engage the community in events and community experiences at the Co-op. We hope it will also help identify resources and talent in our community that can help build the shopping and Co-op food and community experience.
The groups will reconvene on Monday, August 29th at 7:45 pm at the Elkins Park train station to begin their work on targeted areas the Board and Duncan have identified (understanding that this initiative is designed to complement other work being done by staff and management). Please join us if you can and RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’ve been pleased to see that sales have increased over the last two weeks and thank our whole community for making that happen. We are not yet at breakeven – matching sales to costs – and getting there is the highest priority of the board. The breakeven figure will increase as we begin to rebuild staffing and inventory to match our expectations (based on historical experience) for increasing sales in the fall. The Board and Duncan rely on our Finance committee to review our numbers and make suggestions and if you have financial expertise, especially if in food/grocery, please reply to email@example.com if you would like to join. The committee meets monthly.
Managing Costs and Inventory
Duncan’s work during his first 8 months as general manager has yielded important readjustments to our purchasing and pricing practices. The result is that our expenses are better aligned with our revenues. While this is important progress for CreekSide, it has also resulted in changes to the product selection on the shelves, changes that we know we need to continue to refine and also do a better job at explaining. We adjusted purchasing to match the slow summer but this also caused some items to be out of stock at times and we thank you for your patience. We can now begin to increase purchasing so that shortly you will see additional items on our shelves.
Your Shopping Matters
While you have heard it before, we do want to remind our member/owners of the benefits of using EasyShop. When you put money in your account by check and pay for your groceries with EasyShop, it eliminates credit card fees, which in a tight margin business are very tough to swallow. We keep repeating the mantra, “Shop CreekSide first” because we know CreekSide is one of many stores you can choose and we need you to shop our Co-op every week! We are working hard to have the right products and the right store experience that makes it easy for you to start your shopping at our Coop and fill in at other stores.
As we reported previously, we have received a grant from Montgomery County that will enable us to proceed with critical structural repairs to the floor. The initial work will take place in the basement during the weekends or at night, so for now we expect only minor disruptions, if any, in the store. We will keep you updated on the progress of the work. The grant will also fund repairs to the floor surface that we see every day, and to upgrading refrigeration units that have been struggling at different times this summer.
Important Housekeeping Items:
- End of Summer Hours - the Coop is back to being open from 8 am to 8 pm daily.
- Labor Day Hours - The Coop will be open on Labor Day from 8 am to 4 pm to serve your needs and give our staff time with their families.
- New Time and Location for Monthly Board Meetings - Going forward, monthly board meetings will be held on the fourth Thursday of every month at 7:30 pm at the Elkins Park train station. While we loved having meetings in the Co-op’s community room, the acoustics made it difficult for board members and owners to hear and contribute.
- CreekSide Board Nominations – Starting September 1st , we will begin the process of seeking nominees for Board members as part of the annual board election process. Please contact Jeff Cohen at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in standing for election to the Coop board. More complete information about serving on the board will be available on our website by September 1st.
Sincerely, The CreekSide Coop Board
Ben Adams President, Jeff Cohen Vice President, Don Kates Treasurer, Lisa Payne-Chirico Secretary, Ken Brown, Joel Edelstein, Rebecca Meyer, Robin Rifkin, Hillary Seith, Burt Siegel, and Marty Tuzman