Dear CreekSide Owner-Members,
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:
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:
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
CreekSide Food Co-op, our member-owned neighborhood treasure in the heart of Cheltenham is struggling and we need your help. The dog days of summer are upon us and we have been wrestling with the implications. Sales have dropped by as much as 20% over the course of June and July. As we discussed at the member meeting in May, the Co-op is operating with a minimal cash cushion and the summer sales slump of the past two months, steeper than in the two years past, has had a significant impact. We debated the wisdom of writing this letter to our loyal community but despite our worries about sounding the alarm, the Co-op critically needs your help.
All of our efforts in the near term will be focused on helping our General Manager, Duncan guide the store through this tough time. Inventory is being closely managed although this means that at times we may be out of something you need. Other adjustments are being made to ensure the Co-op is operating as efficiently as possible at all times. Each of us on the board will be donating time in August to be in the store, helping you have a great shopping experience. Duncan has already implemented many elements of our “30-60-90 day plan” developed in May and we are working on a variety of new ways to improve the store and encourage more traffic and greater sales. The board’s efforts are important but alone will be insufficient.
The Co-op needs your help now! Here are five things we need you to do:
For the mid-term, we are delighted to say that after a lot of hard work, the Co-op closed on the Montgomery County grant of $151,500 that will go towards repairing the store floor, buying critically needed refrigeration units, updating the POS system for chip card transactions, and paying off a large portion of the debt to Uplift Solutions for their help last summer and fall in running the store. These are all important things to accomplish and we will, but today, we need your help with any and all of the five key steps outlined above.
Your comments or questions are always welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The CreekSide Co-op 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